Typhoid Fever Bacteria Detection in Fecal Contaminated Kathmandu Drinking Water

by Natalie Creekmur

  The quality of drinking water in the densely populated city of is a major concern. The Kathmandu region is home to an endemic of typhoid fever, a disease that causes a severe systemic infection in the human body. The bacterial pathogens that cause typhoid fever are Salmonella Typhi (S. Typhi) and Salmonella Paratyphi A (S. Paratyphi A). It is generally accepted that these two types of bacteria are transmitted via ingestion of contaminated food and drinking water or via human-to-human contact. In Kathamandu, the main water sources for the population are gravity-dependent stone waterspouts. The rainfall and snowmelt that sustain the waterspouts collect in soft-rock aquifers that act as natural reservoirs. This water is untreated and vulnerable to contamination. As a result, the areas surrounding the stone waterspouts experience increased S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A infections in the population. Continue reading

Plastic Pollution and Associated Microorganisms in the North Pacific Gyre

by Chloe Mayne

Anthropogenic plastic pollution in the ocean has become extremely harmful to marine organisms and their environment. These problems include ingestion, entanglement, leaching of chemicals and adsorption of organic pollutants. The most common marine debris are small plastic fragments, which often are larger items that have been degraded. Microorganisms likely interfere with the degradation process as a result of biofilm formation on plastic surfaces. They may block plastic from UV radiation and photo-catalysis, which would increase plastic longevity. Inversely, microorganisms may accelerate degradation. Fouling microorganisms are extremely important to understanding the problems with plastic pollution, yet they have not been adequately studied. In this experiment, Carson et al. (2013) examine the abundance and diversity of microorganisms on plastics in the North Pacific Gyre. Continue reading