Novel use of faecal sterols to assess human faecal contamination in Antarctica : a likelihood assessment matrix for environmental monitoring

Leeming, Rhys, Stark, Jonathan S., & Smith, James J. (2014) Novel use of faecal sterols to assess human faecal contamination in Antarctica : a likelihood assessment matrix for environmental monitoring. Antarctic Science, 27(1), pp. 31-43.

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Abstract

Wastewater containing human sewage is often discharged with little or no treatment into the Antarctic marine environment. Faecal sterols (primarily coprostanol) in sediments have been used for assessment of human sewage contamination in this environment, but in situ production and indigenous faunal inputs can confound such determinations. Using gas chromatography with mass spectral detection profiles of both C27 and C29 sterols, potential sources of faecal sterols were examined in nearshore marine sediments, encompassing sites proximal and distal to the wastewater outfall at Davis Station. Faeces from indigenous seals and penguins were also examined. Faeces from several indigenous species contained significant quantities of coprostanol but not 24-ethylcoprostanol, which is present in human faeces. In situ coprostanol and 24-ethylcoprostanol production was identified by co-production of their respective epi isomers at sites remote from the wastewat er source and in high total organic matter sediments. A C 29 sterols-based polyphasic likelihood assessment matrix for human sewage contamination is presented, which distinguishes human from local fauna faecal inputs and in situ production in the Antarctic environment. Sewage contamination was detected up to 1.5 km from Davis Station.

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7 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 73519
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Published online: 25 June 2014
Keywords: Biomarkers, Coprostanol, 24-ethylcoprostanol, Sewage, Wastewater
DOI: 10.1017/S0954102014000273
ISSN: 1365-2079
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Antarctic Science Ltd
Deposited On: 08 Jul 2014 22:46
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2015 05:58

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