Molecular analyses of fecal bacteria and hydrodynamic modeling for microbial risk assessment of a drinking water source
Journal article, 2020

Safe water is a global concern, and methods to accurately monitor quality of water are vital. To assess the risks related to bacterial pathogen load in Lake Vomb that provides drinking water to the southern part of Sweden, this study combined molecular analyses of enterobacteria and bacterial pathogens in water using quantitiative real-time PCR with hydrodynamic modeling and quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA). A real-time PCR assay to detect enterobacteria was set up by primers targeting ssrA. Between February 2015 and May 2016, presence of ssrA gene copies as well as Campylobacter spp., Salmonella spp., and EHEC O157 DNA was analyzed by real-time PCR at several locations in the catchment of Lake Vomb and its tributaries Bjorkaan, Borstbacken, and Torpsbacken. Bjorkaan had the highest detected concentrations of the ssrA gene and, according to the results of hydrodynamic modeling, contributed most to the contamination of the water intake in the lake. None of the water samples were positive for genes encoding EHEC O157 and Campylobacter spp., while invA (Salmonella spp.) was present in 11 samples. The QMRA showed that the suggested acceptable risk level (daily probability of infection <2.7 x 10-7) is achieved with a 95% probability, if the Salmonella concentrations in the water intake are below 101 bacteria/100 mL. If a UV-disinfection step is installed, the Salmonella concentration at the water intake should not exceed 106 bacteria/100 mL.


Real-time PCR

Quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA)





Olga D. Chuquimia

Karolinska University Hospital

Viktor Bergion

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, GeoEngineering

Jessica Guzman-Otazo

Higher University of San Andrés

Karolinska University Hospital

Kaisa Sörén

Swedish National Veterinary Institute

Lars Rosen

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, GeoEngineering

Thomas Pettersson

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Water Environment Technology

Ekaterina Sokolova

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Water Environment Technology

Åsa Sjöling

Karolinska University Hospital

Water (Switzerland)

2073-4441 (ISSN)

Vol. 12 1 3

Subject Categories

Water Engineering


Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources



More information

Latest update