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Marsh Soils as Potential Sinks for Bacteroides Fecal Indicator Bacteria, Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge, Georgetown, SC, USA

Drexler, Judith Z., Johnson, Heather E., Duris, Joseph, Krauss, Ken W.
Water, air, and soil pollution 2014 v.225 no.2 pp. 1861
Bacteroides, cattle manure, conservation areas, deer, extrusion, feces, fertilizers, genetic markers, indicator species, marshes, odors, provenance, rivers, sediments, soil profiles, watersheds, United States
A soil core collected in a tidal freshwater marsh in the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge (Georgetown, SC) exuded a particularly strong odor of cow manure upon extrusion. In order to test for manure and determine its provenance, we carried out microbial source tracking using DNA markers for Bacteroides, a noncoliform, anaerobic bacterial group that represents a large proportion spectrum of the fecal population. Three core sections from 0–3 cm, 9–12 cm, and 30–33 cm were analyzed for the presence of Bacteroides. The ages of core sediments were estimated using²¹⁰Pb and¹³⁷Cs dating. All three core sections tested positive for Bacteroides DNA markers related to cow or deer feces. Because cow manure is stockpiled, used as fertilizer, and a source of direct contamination in the Great Pee Dee River/Winyah Bay watershed, it is very likely the source of the Bacteroides that was deposited on the marsh. The mid-points of the core sections were dated as follows: 0–3 cm, 2009; 9–12 cm, 1999, and 30–33 cm, 1961. The presence of Bacteroides at different depths/ages in the soil profile indicates that soils in tidal freshwater marshes are, at the least, capable of being short-term sinks for Bacteroides and, may have the potential to be long-term sinks of stable, naturalized populations.