Researchers at British Columbia's public health laboratories are developing a metagenomics-based test to detect contaminated water though the presence of pathogens' DNA, reports The Vancouver Sun. Current procedures, project co-leader Judith Isaac-Renton tells the Sun, take days to complete, as samples are transported and cultured. "By the time we come back to a community and say there was fecal contamination in their water, it's an event that has come and gone," she says. A metagenomics-based test could be used at the site and give answers quickly. It might also help researchers determine the source of the contamination. "If we know an E. coli is specific to cattle we can look upstream and find the farms and make sure they use less water in their manure runoffs or avoid using it after a heavy rainfall," Isaac-Renton says.
Test the Waters
Mar 26, 2012