Source Molecular Corporation is a private commercial laboratory founded in 2002 with a mission to fill the void between source identification research and real-world implementation of the technology. The laboratory is dedicated to offering innovative technology for solving pathogenic water pollution problems through microbial source tracking genetic and molecular techniques. Throughout the years, the Source Molecular microbiology laboratory has analyzed samples for hundreds of industrial plants, watershed management groups, state/federal government agencies, universities and engineering firms making it the leader in the Microbial Source Tracking (MST) industry. By providing commercial MST testing services, Source Molecular assists clients with recreational water quality monitoring and supports Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) development and implementation.
Driven by its zeal to provide the highest quality of service, Source Molecular secured a license from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allowing it to use the MST technology the EPA developed and patented. The laboratory also has an onsite collection of reference fecal samples obtained from throughout the North America, as well as a network of partners with additional fecal samples, which allows it to better validate the performance of the fecal markers. Source Molecular’s laboratory has created a database of thousands of internal and external validation tests performed on its suite of existing markers. This dataset allows the laboratory to better select which tests are appropriate for a project based on local concentrations of the markers.
At present, Source Molecular offers tests that can identify and quantify fecal contamination from 13 host sources — Human, Cattle, Swine, Gull, Goose, Chicken, Dog, Elk, Horse, Bird, Beaver and Ruminant.
Clients wishing to identify fecal pollution sources will receive unlimited assistance in crafting appropriate sampling and MST plans. Shipping kits, including sterile sample bottles, are available so that clients are prepared to sample contaminated waters as soon as the opportunity arises, such as after a rain event. The Source Molecular shipping kit is also recommended for quality assurance and quality control purposes. Please see our detailed packing instructions for more information.
Upon sample arrival and analysis, Source Molecular delivers the results of MST tests in 5-10 working days, one of the fastest turnaround times in the industry. Clients may opt for presence/absence testing or quantification testing to determine the concentration of the host-associated genetic markers in the water samples. See our sample presence/absence report and our sample quantification report. Source Molecular recommends conducting two or more tests per water sample in order to strengthen the validity of the results, particularly negative results. In addition, Source Molecular suggests sampling during both dry and wet events.
Quality Control and Accreditation
Source Molecular is ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accredited. It received its accreditation notice from the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA). Source Molecular has a Certificate and Scope of Accreditation detailing the tests for which the company has been judged competent to perform. This makes Source Molecular the only dedicated Microbial Source Tracking laboratory in the world to be ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accredited and serves as a recognition of its laboratory’s quality and high standards.
Collaborators and Research Partners
Source Molecular has collaborated with various government agencies, private organizations and academic research groups to develop new and validate existing MST assays. Collaborators include:
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Risk Management Research Laboratory (Cincinnati, OH)
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Miami, FL)
- Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (Costa Mesa, CA)
- Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (Dover, DE)
- The University of Miami (Miami, FL)
- Nova Southeastern University (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
- University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
- New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, NM)
- University of South Florida (Tampa, FL)
Publications Co-Authored by Source Molecular
- B.A. Layton, Y. Cao, D.L. Ebentier, K. Hanley, E. Balleste, et al. 2012. Performance of human fecal anaerobe-associated PCR-based assays in a multi-laboratory method evaluation study. Manuscript submitted for publication.
- T.E. Riedel, A.G. Zimmer-Faust, V. Thulsiraj, T. Madi, K.T. Hanley, et al. 2014. Comparison of detection limits and costs of conventional and quantitative PCR assays targeting human or sea gull-associated markers in artificial and environmental waters. Journal of Environmental Management 136 (2014) 112e120.
- H.M. Solo-Gabriele, A.B. Boehm, T.M. Scott, and C.D. Sinigalliano. 2011. Beaches and coastal environments. In C. Hagedorn, A.R. Blanch, V.J. Harwood (eds). Microbial Source Tracking: Methods, Applications, and Case Studies. Springer. New York, NY
- C.D. Sinigalliano, J.M. Fleisher, M.L. Gidley, H.M. Solo-Gabriele, T. Shibata, et al. 2010. Traditional and molecular analyses for fecal indicator bacteria in non-point source subtropical recreational marine waters. Water Research 44: 3763-3772.
- T.M. Scott, V.J. Harwood, W. Ahmed, Y. Masago, and J.B. Rose. 2009. Comment on environmental occurrence of the enterococcal surface protein (esp) gene is an unreliable indicator of human fecal contamination. Environmental Science & Technology 43: 6434-6435.
The following are examples of reports describing projects that Source Molecular was involved in:
- The Gallatin Local Water Quality District (GLWQD) in Montana collected 60 water samples in 2013 from four Bozeman Creek monitoring stations for E. coli bacteria. During September sampling, additional samples were collected and sent to Source Molecular for MST analysis for human and dog. The GLWQD wanted to understand the source(s) of elevated E. coli bacteria in Bozeman Creek. Each sample was analyzed for one dog fecal biomarker and three human fecal biomarkers. MST results suggest human sources are major contributors of fecal pollution to Bozeman Creek, but additional data is needed. The GLWQD noted that the MST results from one sampling event are not conclusive and therefore further MST monitoring is needed in order to craft an appropriate remedy to the problem. Bozeman Creek MST Project
- We also helped the San Juan Watershed Group with their Microbial Source Tracking project. They collected weekly water samples from 5 sites on the Animas and San Juan Rivers from April to October in 2013 and 2014. They wanted the water samples to be tested for Human, Cow, Ruminant (deer, elk, cows, sheep), and Bird bacteria sources. In 2014, they sampled the rivers for E.coli and the presence/absence of 5 bacteria source groups. In their final MST report, they concluded that Human and ruminant fecal contamination was found at all 5 sites tested and that human source bacteria is a bigger problem on the San Juan than on the Animas.SJWG’s Microbial Source Tracking Study
- Atkins, the consultant for Charlotte County in Florida, sent us samples from the combined monitoring they were doing on Sunshine Lake/Sunrise Waterway. Specifically, they sent us storm water samples in July and August 2014. We found traces of dog and human bacteroidetes in the August storm water samples. The study is still ongoing. Atkins has recommended that Charlotte County perform an additional assessment to determine what other sources are responsible for the high levels of bacteria in the waterway. Tasks Atkins has performed related to the Sunshine Lake/Sunrise Waterway Study as of October 23, 2014 and Atkins Revised Interim Report dated August 21, 2014.
- The Red Lake Watershed District in Minnesota reported having high E. coli concentrations at some of its long-term monitoring sites. In June 2014, the District tapped us to help them identify if humans or animals were the source of the fecal pollution. At both sampling events, traces of bird fecal matter were consistently detected at the Mud River and Red Lake River sites. The District noted that it made sense at the Red Lake River monitoring sites because of the large numbers of cliff swallows that live under the bridge near Voyageur’s View Campground. Also, high E. coli concentrations seem to occur most frequently when the birds are present, especially during the month of June. Monitoring continues as well as collecting samples for MST analysis. Red Lake Watershed District Monthly Water Quality Report for June 2014
- Upon the recommendation of one of our regular clients, the City of Manhattan Beach sought our help in March 2014 in analyzing the bacteria they found in Well 11A located in Redondo Beach, California. They wanted to know if the bacteria were a product of human fecal contamination. The samples they sent us tested negative in all five tests for human-associated bacteria. This prompted the City of Manhattan to move on and they later determined that the bacteria are likely a product of environmental factors in the groundwater aquifer. Because the City of Manhattan was able to properly eliminate their suspects, they were able to craft a plan that calls for chemical treatment and mechanical well head rehabilitation services to get rid of the bacteria.
- Geosyntec Consultants conducted the San Diego River Dry Weather Microbial Source Tracking Study to, among others, identify fecal sources in County MS4 outfalls. The laboratory of the City of San Diego, which performed membrane filtration, sent us samples in April and June 2014. Geosyntec wanted the samples to be analyzed for human, dog, horse, ruminant, cow and pig bio-markers. Some samples tested positive for humans and dogs. Geosyntec noted that the human markers were observed in networks that had homeless encampments. Geosyntec recommends additional monitoring to further confirm the results.
- Mauricio Larenas. Implementing California’s New Source Identification Manual: Latest Detection and Remediation Tools, and a San Diego Case Study. South and North California Beach Quarterly Meetings hosted by the California State Water Resources Control Board on May 21 & 22, 2014 in Costa Mesa and Alameda. Download The California Microbial Source Identification Manual.
- Mauricio Larenas and Grace Anderson. Microbial Source Tracking. “Water Bugs” Lunchtime Learning Series webinar hosted by the Biological Contaminants Committee of the Florida Section American Water Works Association (FSAWWA) and sponsored by Veolia Water North America held October 2, 2013.
- Mauricio Larenas. Microbial Source Tracking: Search for Human, Gull, and Dog. 12th Annual Great Lakes Beach Association Conference held on October 16-18, 2012 on Mackinac Island, MI. Download Microbial Source Tracking – Great Lakes 2012
- Mauricio Larenas. In Search of Gulls: A MST Case Study at Delaware’s Tower Road Beach. The GOMA MST Workshop III on Microbial Source Tracking, Pathogen Indicators, and Rapid Methods held on April 9-11, 2012 in St. Petersburg, FL. Download GOMA Microbial Source Tracking Presentation
- Mauricio Larenas. Microbial Source Tracking Process and Applications. US EPA Region 4 Beach Managers Meeting held on March 20-21, 2012 in Biloxi, MS. Download Microbial Source Tracking Presentation
- C. Sinigalliano, D. Wanless, N. Lucey, T. Scott, H. Solo-Gabriele, et al. Source Tracking for Public Health Protection: Quantitative Molecular Detection of Gull and Canine Fecal Contamination in Recreational Waters and Beaches. 2010 Northern Gulf Institute Annual Meeting held in 2010 in Mobile, AL Poster. See the poster here.
- Troy Scott. Microbial Source Tracking: Applications and Field Studies. Michigan State University Pathogen Workshop Series – Microbial Source Tracking held on March 16, 2007 in East Lansing, MI.