Tracking Water Contamination Through Identificaton of Adenovirusese by PCR
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Contamination by fecal matter leads to potential transmission of diseases through water and food. This is a major concern to many water treatment plants as well as the general population. Adenoviruses make up a family of different viruses which may be excreted in feces and urine. These viruses are non-enveloped and contain a double stranded DNA genome. Adenoviruses are resistant to ultraviolet inactivation and chlorination which makes them more stable than other viruses found in fecal matter. Human Adenovirus, HAdV, has been identified as a good indicator of human viral contaminants because of its prevalence and how easily it is detected in sewage and river water. Diseases associated with adenoviruses include respiratory diseases. Using real-time PCR, a source-tracking method was developed in order to provide information on whether the contamination originates from humans or animals. Human adenovirus and Bovine Adenovirus samples were used to develop the method of identifying the main contaminant of the Des Moines River and Beaver Creek water. Conventional and Real-time Polymerase Chain reaction (PCR) was used to detect which type of adenovirus was present in the samples using different dilutions. This therefore allowed us to determine the source of the contamination. About two-thirds of the water samples tested showed that Human Adenovirus was present, thus indicating human contamination as the main source. Using PCR, it was possible to detect up to 10,000 fold dilution of the human adenovirus genome. Experiments done using Bovine adenovirus showed the detection by PCR to be less sensitive.
Advisor: Marie Nguyen of Des Moines University