Human Fecal Contamination Score Allows Site Prioritization

A paper detailing the development of a human fecal contamination score that allows for site prioritization and measurement of BMP effectiveness and co-authored by Source Molecular’s Dr. Yiping Cao was recently accepted for publication.

The manuscript is entitled “A Human Fecal Contamination Score for Ranking Recreational Sites using the HF183/BacR287 Quantitative Real-Time PCR Method”. Water Research, a journal of the International Water Association (IWA), will publish the manuscript.

The Human Fecal Contamination Score (HFS) is “an estimate of the level of human fecal contamination at a given site based on the average concentration of the HF183 gene in water samples collected over a defined period of time.” It mathematically incorporates all data from water sample tests regardless if qPCR measurements are below or above the calibration model Lower Limit of Quantification (LLOQ).

Dr. Cao conducted the study while she was with the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project Authority. Her co-researchers are Drs. John F. Griffith and Stephen B. Weisberg at SCCWRP; Drs. Mano Sivaganesan, Catherine A. Kelty and Orin C. Shanks at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development; and Drs. Dan Wang and Alexandria B. Boehm at Stanford University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

In the study, researchers collected about 42 surface water samples from three coastal sites in southern California. They created five datasets to represent maximum sampling intensity and maximum qPCR replication. They evaluated 975 scenarios representing different combinations of sampling intensity, qPCR replicate number and site.

Researchers recommend that water quality managers make performance tests with reference pollution source materials collected from potential human and non-human sources in the same geographic area as water quality testing. Because HFS is a weighted average across a defined sampling intensity, researchers recommend water managers to sample each site at a similar time of day, on the same days of the week over the study period.

Dr. Cao is Source Molecular’s New VP of Technology

Dr. Cao joined Source Molecular in October as Vice-President of Technology. Source Molecular has worked with Dr. Cao in the past and is very supportive of her work in the field of environmental molecular microbiology. She was active in relevant research at SCCWRP. Aside from Fecal Score Development, Dr. Cao’s notable achievements are her involvement and leadership in the Source Identification Protocol Project (SIPP), Digital PCR advances, MST marker degradation studies, and recreational water epidemiology studies.

Dr. Cao will head Source Molecular’s data platform division and expand its R&D efforts. Moreover, Dr. Cao will lead the company’s entry into foreign markets. She will also serve as an advisor to the executive team and customers.