Bacteriophage-based microbial source-tracking studies are an economical and simple way of identifying fecal sources in polluted water systems. Recently isolated Bacteroides spp. strains ARABA 84, and GB-124 have been shown to detect bacteriophages exclusively in aquatic systems impacted by human fecal material. To date, limited examination of the occurrence or concentration of phages capable of infecting Bacteroides fragilis strain GB-124 or B. thetaiotaomicron strain ARABA 84 in human and animal feces has been carried out. This study reports the prevalence rates and concentrations of phages infecting ARABA 84 and GB-124 host strains in human and a range of animal feces. Discrete human fecal samples (n = 55) and pooled animal samples (n = 46, representing the feces of over 230 animals) were examined for phages infecting the host strains ARABA 84, GB-124, and E. coli strain WG5. Both human Bacteroides host strains were highly specific (95% and 100% for ARABA 84 and GB-124, respectively), challenging results from previous studies. This study supports the use of Bacteroides strains GB-124 and ARABA 84 in fecal source tracking studies for the detection of human fecal contamination.
- source tracking
- First received 18 August 2014.
- Accepted in revised form 22 November 2014.
- © IWA Publishing 2015