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Identifying New Surrogates for Irrigation Water

Metagenomics is the study of genetic material recovered directly from environmental samples and can assist in identifying organisms present in any environment. Metagenomics provides faster and more precise analysis of multiple samples, delivers information on pathogen occurrence in water, allows scientists to identify organisms not previously possible using culture based-methods, and has revolutionized the way scientists view the living world. Sequencing of irrigation water could validate the use of traditional indicator organism in southwest US canals. This project will utilize stored samples collected during a previous project to define optimal monitoring strategies for irrigation waters. The specific objectives of the project include: 1) sequencing 350 irrigation water samples, 2) validating a previously quantified non-pathogenic surrogate (E. coli), 3) identifying new pathogenic indicators in irrigation waters of the southwest US, and 4) determining if these novel indicators were correlated to the presence of known foodborne pathogens. 
This project was sponsored by the Arizona Department of Agriculture. 

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