Frequently Asked Questions About Our DNA Analysis

What are some example applications in drinking water?
  • Distribution System Nitrification: DNA data can shed light on issues with nitrification in distribution systems that consumes disinfection residual (especially chloramine).
  • Distribution System Backflow: DNA data can indicate potential issues with untreated water entering distribution systems via backflow or other routes. Coliform testing will typically not detect any issues until the problem is substantial enough to consume the chlorine residual and cause potential health issues. DNA data, on the other hand, can detect bacterial contaminants such as E. coli and other fecal-associated bacteria even when a chlorine residual renders these bacteria non-viable. This information is helpful for identifying problems in a distribution system before they become major public health issues.
  • Well Surface Water Intrusion: DNA data can indicate the presence of surface water in groundwater wells. Surface water entering wells could be a cause for concern as it could harbor fecal contamination. Without DNA data, it is very difficult to detect surface water entering a well.
  • Aesthetics (taste/odor) issues: DNA data can shed light on taste and odor issues such as sulfur and iron. This data reveals the identity of sulfur oxidizing bacteria, sulfate reducing bacteria and iron oxidizing bacteria.
  • Positive Coliform Tests: DNA data can be used to provide more information in cases where positive coliform tests have occurred. The DNA data can indicate whether or not the coliforms are naturally occurring environmental bacteria or are associated with other fecal bacteria in the sample.
What are some example applications in wastewater?
  • Nitrification: DNA methods are the only reliable method to detect and assess nitrification.
  • Phosphorus Removal: DNA methods are the only reliable method to detect and assess biological phosphorus removal. Without DNA methods, it is difficult to know if your plant is performing biological phosphorus removal or not.
  • Foaming: DNA methods are able to definitively identify and quantify all foaming bacteria. Identification of foaming bacteria with a microscope typically requires a trained microscope operator.
  • Filaments/Bulking/Poor settling: DNA methods are able to definitively identify and quantify all filamentous bacteria. Many filaments are difficult to identify with a microscope and cannot be easily quantified.
  • Positive Coliform Tests: DNA data can be used to provide more information in cases where positive coliform tests have occurred. The DNA data can indicate whether or not the coliforms are naturally occurring environmental bacteria or are associated with other fecal bacteria in the sample.
  • Anaerobic Digester Gas Production: DNA data can be used to assess and track the health of the methanogen population in anaerobic digesters. This information may help operators optimize the process to produce more gas and energy.
What are some example applications in process water?
  • Microbial problems in process water can vary widely from corrosion of pipes, biofilms on membranes, contamination of products to increased public health risks. Modern DNA methods open a new window of diagnostic insight, that significantly improves product development, quality control and troubleshooting operations.
  • DNA analysis can identify bacteria carried genes for phosphonate uptake implicating the phosphonate-rich antiscalant as a cause for the biofilm formation.
What are some example applications in surface water / source tracking?
  • Biological contamination can come from sewage overflows, agricultural run off, birds, and other sources.
  • DNA methods distinguish each type of source. For instance, humans, cows, horses, pigs and birds can be distinguished.
  • Once the source is understood, it can be tracked to where it came from much more accurately and efficiently than is possible with any other type of microbiological analysis.
How inclusive are your probe sets?

We can detect nearly all bacteria, and do not use probes that target only one or a handful of organisms. That nomenclature typically refers to a different method called FISH (fluorescent in situ hybridization) where you use probes to detect specific species. We use generic primers that amplify DNA from nearly all bacteria. We then sequence the DNA to identify the bacteria.

What is your procedure or some background on how you ID your bacteria?

16S DNA sequencing with Illumina Miseq to identify and quantify most bacteria in a sample.

Contact us for other questions about our DNA analysis: