Identification of microbial faecal sources in the New River in the United States-Mexican border region

Rezaur Rahman, Absar Alum, Hodon Ryu, Morteza Abbaszadegan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Water samples were analysed to differentiate human and animal faecal contamination of the New River, Mexico/USA, by genotyping bacterial viruses detected in the samples. From 46 water samples collected from the New River, 372 plaques of male-specific coliphages were isolated and genotyped; 44% of the plaques were identified as F-RNA coliphages and further characterized into four groups. Group I was the most prevalent (56%), followed by group IV (25%), group III (10%) and group II (9%). Group III coliphages were only detected at the sampling site in the vicinity of the international boundary, indicating human faecal contamination. As the New River traverses through the US region, groups I and IV coliphages were predominantly identified, but no human-specific genotypes were detected. The study also found that water temperature influenced the prevalence of the relative proportions of F-RNA coliphages in the environmental water samples. The strategy used in this study appears to be a practical and reliable tool for monitoring and distinguishing between human and animal faecal contamination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-275
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Water and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009


  • F-RNA coliphage genotyping
  • United States-Mexican border region

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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