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​​MOLECULAR DIAGNOSTICS TO DETECT CONTAMINANT SOURCES IN AQUATIC SYSTEMS

​We have developed a mitochondrial DNA-based assay and service to assist clients in differentiating animal fecal sources that can lead to increased bacterial levels in surface water. This molecular source identification (MSI)  technology is a specifically host-based detection method. Unlike conventional bacterial monitoring, MMI's technology is more accurate at distinguishing many sources in a single test - such as human, pet, livestock, and wildlife. Improved knowledge of these sources will preserve our scarce and vital aquatic resources for sustainable drinking water and agriculture.

Within coastal and ocean waters, there is a need to improve existing water quality indicators to promote sustainable fisheries and human health. Each year millions of acres of surface waters are closed for recreational use or seafood harvesting due to fecal contamination.  New technologies to improve scientists’ ability to assess water quality in coastal watersheds are needed with great urgency. Preventing harmful sources from contaminating municipal drinking water facilities, watershed streams, estuaries, and recreational beaches is a priority.

Innovative DNA-based techniques offer a significant improvement in multi-source diagnostics, specificity, and detection compared to traditional tests.

MMI is focused on providing a diagnostic service with highly accurate and cost-effective molecular technology that pinpoints the complex array of pollution sources that impact aquatic systems. 

The mitochondrial gene marker is host-specific and eukaryotic cell based so detection of a fecal source is more targeted compared to traditional bacterial markers. 

MMI’s integrated consultation service provides a unique case-by-case assessment of the molecular result using an algorithmic approach that our competitors do not provide. Because we understand the ecological issues and regulatory contexts our clients operate in, we not only provide them with test results but help them to interpret the results and enable them to understand the implications within their coastal watershed. 

The tributary network of coastal watersheds connects land use with aquatic ecosystem health. MMI is working to improve environmental monitoring of these systems. Photo credit: M Shattuck