Molecular tools for bathing water assessment in Europe: Balancing social science research with a rapidly developing environmental science evidence-base
van Niekerk, M
Springer Verlag (Germany)
Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
The use of molecular tools, principally qPCR, versus traditional culture-based methods for quantifying microbial parameters (e.g., Fecal Indicator Organisms) in bathing waters generates considerable ongoing debate at the science–policy interface. Advances in science have allowed the development and application of molecular biological methods for rapid (~2 h) quantification of microbial pollution in bathing and recreational waters. In contrast, culture-based methods can take between 18 and 96 h for sample processing. Thus, molecular tools offer an opportunity to provide a more meaningful statement of microbial risk to water-users by providing near-real-time information enabling potentially more informed decision-making with regard to water-based activities. However, complementary studies concerning the potential costs and benefits of adopting rapid methods as a regulatory tool are in short supply. We report on findings from an international Working Group that examined the breadth of social impacts, challenges, and research opportunities associated with the application of molecular tools to bathing water regulations.
The Working Group and associated workshop series were funded by the Natural Environment Research Council as part of the Delivering Healthy Water project (NE/I022191/1). LF received funding in part by the European Regional Development Fund Programme and the European Social Fund Convergence Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Thanks are extended to all participants who contributed to the online survey. Finally, the constructive comments from two anonymous referees and the editor helped to improve the overall quality of this manuscript.
This is the final version of the article. Available from the publisher via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 45, pp. 52 - 62
PubMed Central ID