SBIR Phase I: Microbial Source Tracking Using Mitochondrial DNA for Identification of Contaminant Sources

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0910417
Agency Tracking Number: 0910417
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: BC
Solicitation Number: NSF 08-548
Small Business Information
DUNS: 858462625
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Brett Baldwin
 (865) 573-8188
Business Contact
 Brett Baldwin
Title: DEng
Phone: (865) 573-8188
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will result in a suite of microbial source tracking assays to provide cost-effective identification of fecal contamination sources in surface waters. Beach closures and advisories exceeded 20,000 days in each of the past 3 years with more than 60% caused by fecal pollution. Overall, 13% of surface waters do not meet quality standards due to fecal contamination. The problem continues more than 30 years after the Clean Water Act because traditional methods cannot identify fecal inputs from the myriad of human (wastewater treatment plants, septic fields), agricultural (confined animal feeding operations), and natural wildlife activities. Microbial source tracking (MST) using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) offers a rapid but sensitive approach to quantify fecal inputs and most importantly identify the source. The primary milestone of the project will be rigorously validated qPCR assays that provide conclusive identification of fecal contamination sources allowing end users to eliminate fecal inputs and protect human health. The broader impact of this research is the development and validation of an mtDNA based qPCR method to identify fecal contamination sources which will ultimately lead to improved water quality. Fecal contamination of water resources currently results in beach closures and restrictions on shellfish harvesting that severely impact waterfront communities. Moreover, periodic outbreaks of waterborne diseases clearly highlight the need for improved detection of fecal contamination indicators to protect human health. This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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