J Genomics 2017; 5:4-11. doi:10.7150/jgen.18378

Research Paper

Detection of Intestinal Pathogens in River, Shore, and Drinking Water in Lima, Peru

David C. Grothen, Sydney J. Zach, Paul H. Davis

Department of Biology, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha NE 68182-0040, USA
† These authors contributed equally.


Water quality management is an ongoing struggle for many locations worldwide. Current testing of water supplies can be time-consuming, expensive, and lack sensitivity. This study describes an alternative, easy-to-use, and inexpensive method to water sampling and testing at remote locations. This method was employed to detect a number of intestinal pathogens in various locations of Lima, Peru. A total of 34 PCR primer pairs were tested for specificity and high-yield amplification for 12 different pathogens using known DNA templates. Select primers for each pathogen were then tested for minimum detection limits of DNA. Water samples were collected from 22 locations. PCR was used to detect the presence of a pathogen, virulence factors, or differentiate between pathogenic species. In 22 water samples, cholera toxin gene was detected in 4.5% of samples, C. perfringens DNA was detected in 50% of samples, E. histolytica DNA was detected in 54.5% of samples, Giardia intestinalis DNA was detected in 4.5% of samples, Leptospira spp. DNA was detected in 29% of samples, and T. gondii DNA was detected in 31.8% of samples. DNA from three pathogens, C. perfringens, E. histolytica, and T. gondii, were found in residential samples, which accounted for 10 out of 22 samples.

Keywords: water sampling, water-borne pathogen detection, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), gel electrophoresis.

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How to cite this article:
Grothen DC, Zach SJ, Davis PH. Detection of Intestinal Pathogens in River, Shore, and Drinking Water in Lima, Peru. J Genomics 2017; 5:4-11. doi:10.7150/jgen.18378. Available from http://www.jgenomics.com/v05p0004.htm