The goal of this research is to provide a validated procedure whereby E. coli isolated from an environmental source can be assigned to a human, wildlife, or livestock origin. This study is based on work that has recently been completed by the project researchers. That research evaluated four methods for determining the sources from which E. coli isolates came. The study showed that a nucleic acid-based method called Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) was highly effective and was the best of the four methods tested. Because four methods were being evaluated, a limited number of E. coli isolates was investigated by the AFLP procedure. Furthermore, the studies were not conducted in a blinded manner.
This study extends the previous study by conducting the tests on E. coli isolated from environmental samples as well as from animals and humans; and by conducting the tests in a double blind fashion and requiring the procedure to identify the source.
Expected Impact of Project Outcomes on Food Safety in Ontario: There is increasing concern with the problem of contamination of water sources with fecal material of undetermined origin. The study will aid in identifying the sources of E. coli contamination, thereby enabling remedial steps to be undertaken. <P> For more information, please visit the <a href="http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/research/foodsafety/index.html" target="_blank">Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Food Safety Research Program</a>.