Next Generation Sequencing for Management of Surface Water/Groundwater Interaction and Water Quality
Monday, December 3, 2018: 10:20 a.m.
N107/108 (Las Vegas Convention Center)
Environmental microbial diagnostics is a rapidly evolving field that enables understanding of causal relationships between the microbial community and their environment that would be too challenging to otherwise investigate. This practice area has a wide range of applications, including the development of predictive models, cleanup and monitoring strategies, and bioremediation and biogeochemistry. Examples where environmental microbial diagnostics may be beneficial to meeting regulatory requirements with greater fidelity than currently practiced methods include EPA’s Surface Water Treatment Rule, Total Coliform Rule, and Groundwater Rule. Microbial diagnostic approaches also function as both leading and lagging indicators of environmental perturbations such as acidification of groundwater. One example of a microbial diagnostic tool is next-generation sequencing (NGS), which enables identification of microbial community signatures which can be used to identify environmental changes that may affect water quality, remediation performance, and other operational parameters influenced by the biological community. Although NGS is extensively used to study environmental communities, its use as a diagnostics tool to characterize the environment is in the early stages of development. In this presentation we present practical examples of where the use of NGS provided diagnostic information to understand factors that influenced the DNA signature of specific environments. Specifically, we used NGS to investigate potable groundwater for indicators of potential surface water intrusion. Results demonstrated the ability of NGS to supplement established technologies, such as micro-particulate analysis, for the identification of key surface water bio-indicators indicative of surface water intrusion. We will present another study where NGS was used as a diagnostic tool to define microbial signatures that are linked to known metabolic end-products that could contribute to the acidification of groundwater. Overall, NGS is a valuable technology that provides in-depth biological signatures of the ambient environment that can be used to inform and improve current water management and remedial strategies.