Regional variations of bovine and porcine fecal pollution as a function of landscape, nutrient, and hydrological factors

Jean Pierre Nshimyimana, Sherry L. Martin, Matthew Flood, Marc P. Verhougstraete, David W. Hyndman, Joan B. Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The effects of manure application in agriculture on surface water quality has become a local to global problem because of the adverse consequences on public health and food security. This study evaluated (i) the spatial distribution of bovine (cow) and porcine (pig) genetic fecal markers, (ii) how hydrologic factors influenced these genetic markers, and (iii) their variations as a function of land use, nutrients, and other physiochemical factors. We collected 189 samples from 63 watersheds in Michigan's Lower Peninsula during baseflow, spring melt, and summer rain conditions. For each sample, we quantified the concentrations of bovine and porcine genetic markers by digital droplet polymerase chain reaction and measured Escherichia coli, dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, total phosphorus, total nitrogen, nitrate-nitrite (NOX), ammonia (NH3), soluble reactive phosphorus, streamflow, and watershed specific precipitation. Bovine and porcine manure markers were ubiquitous in rivers that drain agricultural and natural fields across the study region. This study provides baseline conditions on the state of watershed impairment, which can be used to develop best management practices that could improve water quality. Similar studies should be performed with higher spatial sampling density to elucidate detailed factors that influence the transport of manure constituents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1024-1032
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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