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Using high-resolution DNA fingerprints, scientists can map profiles of various strains of E. coli bacteria to identify their specific sources of origin. Scientists and environmental agencies then can identify and target specific water pollution sources using bacterial fingerprints left at the site. The technology shows great potential to improve the effectiveness of cleanup efforts for water bodies, according to researchers.
ENSR and UMass scientists now are taking a second set of samples for DNA analysis following a rainy period. The first samples were taken after a dry spell; the final round will follow an intense, short-duration storm. The Souhegan River, which runs through residential, rural, agricultural, industrial and wilderness areas, was selected for its diverse study conditions.
Recent E. coli test results along the Souhegan River can be viewed at www.souhegan.org/souecoli04.html.