2018 Volume 33 Issue 2 Pages 151-161
Various waterborne pathogens originate from human or animal feces and may cause severe gastroenteric outbreaks. Bacteroides spp. that exhibit strong host- or group-specificities are promising markers for identifying fecal sources and their origins. In the present study, 240 water samples were collected from two major aquaculture areas in Republic of Korea over a period of approximately 1 year, and the concentrations and occurrences of four host-specific Bacteroides markers (human, poultry, pig, and ruminant) were evaluated in the study areas. Host-specific Bacteroides markers were detected widely in the study areas, among which the poultry-specific Bacteroides marker was detected at the highest concentration (1.0–1.2 log10 copies L−1). During the sampling period, high concentrations of host-specific Bacteroides markers were detected between September and December 2015. The host-specific Bacteroides marker-combined geospatial map revealed the up-to-downstream gradient of fecal contamination, as well as the effects of land-use patterns on host-specific Bacteroides marker concentrations. In contrast to traditional bacterial indicators, the human-specific Bacteroides marker correlated with human specific pathogens, such as noroviruses (r=0.337; P<0.001). The present results indicate that host-specific Bacteroides genetic markers with an advanced geospatial analysis are useful for tracking fecal sources and associated pathogens in aquaculture areas.