Microbial Source Tracking

Microbial Source Tracking (MST) is a suite of DNA-based techniques used to determine the sources of fecal bacteria. Our laboratories can accurately pinpoint the origins of fecal contamination – whether it be from humans, livestock, or wildlife.

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2. Sample type(s): *

3. Do you need expedited results?

Standard turnaround time is 10 business days. Turnaround of 3 days is available for an additional fee.

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Our microbial source tracking (MST) service uses qPCR and ddPCR testing to identify the source of fecal contamination quickly and reliably in water samples. This is the gold-standard for fast, accurate identification of specific microorganism targets of concern.

MST is the missing link between fecal contamination and actionable information, unlike Conventional Fecal Indicator methods. It allows you to swiftly and reliably pinpoint contamination sources, giving you confidence in your preventative actions.

LuminUltra’s MST services are based on a methodology endorsed by the EPA and trusted by governments, NGOs, scientists, and engineers across North America.

Our comprehensive suite of assays and technology allows you to:

  • Understand the impact of unidentified sources of contamination on waterways.
  • Ensure compliance with state and federal laws, such as the NPDES/MS4 Permit.
  • Develop an effective Stormwater Management Program (SWMP).
  • Make informed water quality management decisions to protect your community’s potable water supply, stormwater, streams, bays, and more.
  • Provide public outreach and education on ways to reduce pollutants in stormwater runoff.


Turnaround times

Standard: 10 business days
Rush: 3 business days

Available assays

Animal Marker name Description 
Avian GFD General indicator of avian fecal contamination.  
Gulls Gull-4 All birds identified as gulls (or colloquially seagulls as well as pelicans, cranes and snow geese) which are common sources of fecal contamination in coastal and fresh waterbodies.  
Canada Goose CGOF1 Canada Goose only 
Canines BacCan, DG3 Canines, including dogs and coyotes 
Chicken CL Chickens only 
Cattle CowM2 Cattle (colloquially known in North America as cows) 
Horse HoF597F Wild and domestic horses.  
Human HF183, HF183/BacR287, HumM2, H8 Genetic markers of fecal Bacteroides from humans. 
Pig Pig2Bac Wild/feral and domestic pigs.  
Ruminants Rum2Bac Ruminants (hooved herbivores with four stomach compartments) such as sheep, goats, elk, deer, and cattle. 
General Bacteroides GenBac3 General fecal indicator, highly abundant in all warm-blooded animals. 


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