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Molecular tools for bathing water assessment in Europe: Balancing social science research with a rapidly developing environmental science evidence-base

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Susan Chilton

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Abstract

The use of molecular tools, principally qPCR, versus traditional culture-based methods for quantifying microbial parameters (e.g., Fecal Indicator Organisms) in bathing waters generates considerable ongoing debate at the science-policy interface. Advances in science have allowed the development and application of molecular biological methods for rapid (similar to 2 h) quantification of microbial pollution in bathing and recreational waters. In contrast, culture-based methods can take between 18 and 96 h for sample processing. Thus, molecular tools offer an opportunity to provide a more meaningful statement of microbial risk to water-users by providing near-real-time information enabling potentially more informed decision-making with regard to water-based activities. However, complementary studies concerning the potential costs and benefits of adopting rapid methods as a regulatory tool are in short supply. We report on findings from an international Working Group that examined the breadth of social impacts, challenges, and research opportunities associated with the application of molecular tools to bathing water regulations.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Oliver DM, Hanley ND, van Niekerk M, Kay D, Heathwaite AL, Rabinovici SJM, Kinzelman JL, Fleming LE, Porter J, Shaikh S, Fish R, Chilton S, Hewitt J, Connolly E, Cummins A, Glenk K, McPhail C, McRory E, McVittie A, Giles A, Roberts S, Simpson K, Tinch D, Thairs T, Avery LM, Vinten AJA, Watts BD, Quilliam RS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Ambio

Year: 2016

Volume: 45

Issue: 1

Pages: 52-62

Print publication date: 01/02/2016

Online publication date: 21/09/2015

Acceptance date: 04/09/2015

ISSN (print): 0044-7447

ISSN (electronic): 1654-7209

Publisher: Springer

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13280-015-0698-9

DOI: 10.1007/s13280-015-0698-9


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