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The specificity of a short fragment functional gene marker (alpha-1-6, mannanase) in Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron was compared with two other Bacteroidales markers used for identifying sewage as the source of pollution in water. A total of 11 different animal species and 230 faecal samples were tested using quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The results showed that the alpha-1-6, mannanase marker had high specificity (0·97). Limited cross-reactivity was found in swine, gull and cat faeces with copy numbers close to detection limit. Positives were detected in all bovine and sheep faeces tested for the Human-Bac1 marker. The human-specific alpha-1-6, mannanase marker showed greater specificity (0·97) than the HF 183 Bacteroides PCR marker (0·71) and the Human-Bac1 (qPCR) marker. This is the first study that compares Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron alpha-1-6, mannanase marker with other markers. Our study showed that this marker has strong potential to be used as an indicator for sewage pollution in water. © 2012 The Society for Applied Microbiology.


A Aslan, J B Rose. Evaluation of the host specificity of Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron alpha-1-6, mannanase gene as a sewage marker. Letters in applied microbiology. 2013 Jan;56(1):51-6

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PMID: 23078617

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