Source Molecular Presents at State of Lake Superior 2018 Conference

Source Molecular Corporation gave a presentation at the State of Lake Superior 2018 Conference hosted by the International Association for Great Lakes Research and Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan, from October 9 to 12, 2018.

Project Manager James Herrin’s talk focused on “Leveraging DNA to Identify Sources of Fecal Pollution in Lakes.” Several beaches around Lake Superior have been closed this year due to high levels of fecal bacteria as a result of flooding and stormwater runoff. While the occurrence is rare, Michigan’s lakes are still susceptible to bacteria contamination and nutrient pollution.

Mr. Herrin explained the importance of identifying bacteria sources in remediating fecal pollution. He shared that it is a common misconception to equate fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) with disease-causing bacteria. If FIB is the only measure of fecal pollution, then water managers can easily mistake harmless and non-fecal bacteria as FIB. There is a chain of inference to go through before concluding that the FIB is pathogenic.

Stormwater runoff, which can contaminate lakes, usually have multiple bacteria sources such as humans, dogs, and birds. The use of genetic technology in water quality monitoring is gaining ground among water managers because it becomes cost-effective in the long run. Microbial Source Tracking (MST), a DNA-based test method, helps water managers determine where fecal pollution is coming from, pinpoint the host responsible for the fecal pollution, and evaluate BMP effectiveness.

Mr. Herrin also shared case studies to show how MST technology has helped communities across the country. For more information on how MST can help address bacteria impairment, contact Mr. Herrin at and (786) 220-0379.

The State of Lake Superior Conference was a multi-day conference that included invited sessions and abstracts, plenary sessions, field trips, and associated meetings. Professor Nancy Langston at the Department of Social Sciences in Michigan Technological University was the speaker at the plenary following the conference’s opening ceremony. Professor Langston talked about the lake’s environmental and social history, and the lessons that communities can learn to help sustain the health of Lake Superior in the face of challenges and threats.