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New DNA Techniques for Bacteroides Revolutionize Sewage Contamination Testing


EMSL Analytical announces improved method to analyze for fecal contaminates.

A new test to determine the presence of fecal or sewage contamination was recently introduced by EMSL Analytical, Inc. The exciting news has spread quickly with environmental professionals who previously had limited options for this type of test.

This new method, tested at EMSL Analytical, was based upon research conducted for the EPA. The EPA desired a more specific and rapid test for fecal contamination using a PCR based method to look for Bacteroides.

This new test has many advantages over the traditional total coliforms, fecal coliforms, fecal streptococcus, Enterococcus, and E. coli tests, including the following:

1. Bacteroides is absolutely specific for fecal contamination. Coliforms, E. coli, fecal streptococcus and Enterococcus are not, due to the fact that these organisms can grow in water, soil, sediments and on vegetation in uncontaminated environments. (E. coli for example is found in clean environments in the tropics).

2. Since Bacteroides outnumber coliforms by 1000:1 and outnumber E. coli by 10,000:1, the chances of finding it are greatly enhanced over the traditional methods.

3. Coliforms, E. coli, fecal streptococcus and Enterococcus are culture based tests. As such, live organisms are tested and unfortunately these groups of organisms often will not be viable or will die once outside of the host organismís digestive tract. This means that a negative result does not mean the absence of fecal contamination. The new Bacteroides test overcomes this limitation since PCR techniques are utilized. The laboratory can detect live, nonviable, or viable but not culturable organisms.

This test can be performed in most matrices and results can be obtained in a matter of hours, not days. To learn more about this new analytical method please contact Diane Miskowski at 800-220-3675 x1218 or

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a leading, national provider of environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.

To learn more about EMSL Analytical please visit: or, or contact EMSL at (800)220-3675 or


 Fecal Contamination
 Sewage Contamination

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