Two-Year Monitoring of Water Samples from Dam of Iskar and the Black Sea, Bulgaria, by Molecular Analysis: Focus on Mycobacterium spp

Stefan Panaiotov, Ivan Simeonovski, Victoria Levterova, Ventzislav Karamfilov, Nadia Brankova, Kristin Tankova, Katrina Campbell, Pauline Jacob, Karim Helmi, Bas Boots, Emilio D'Ugo, Stefania Marcheggiani, Laura Mancini, Ulrich Breitenbach, Erik Mielke, Todor Kantardjiev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The coast of the Bulgarian Black Sea is a popular summer holiday destination. The Dam of Iskar is the largest artificial dam in Bulgaria, with a capacity of 675 million m3. It is the main source of tap water for the capital Sofia and for irrigating the surrounding valley. There is a close relationship between the quality of aquatic ecosystems and human health as many infections are waterborne. Rapid molecular methods for the analysis of highly pathogenic bacteria have been developed for monitoring quality. Mycobacterial species can be isolated from waste, surface, recreational, ground and tap waters and human pathogenicity of nontuberculose mycobacteria (NTM) is well recognized. The objective of our study was to perform molecular analysis for key-pathogens, with a focus on mycobacteria, in water samples collected from the Black Sea and the Dam of Iskar. In a two year period, 38 water samples were collected-24 from the Dam of Iskar and 14 from the Black Sea coastal zone. Fifty liter water samples were concentrated by ultrafiltration. Molecular analysis for 15 pathogens, including all species of genus Mycobacterium was performed. Our results showed presence of Vibrio spp. in the Black Sea. Rotavirus A was also identified in four samples from the Dam of Iskar. Toxigenic Escherichia coli was present in both locations, based on markers for stx1 and stx2 genes. No detectable amounts of Cryptosporidium were detected in either location using immunomagnetic separation and fluorescence microscopy. Furthermore, mass spectrometry analyses did not detect key cyanobacterial toxins. On the basis of the results obtained we can conclude that for the period 2012-2014 no Mycobacterium species were present in the water samples. During the study period no cases of waterborne infections were reported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7430-7443
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number7
Publication statusEarly online date - 30 Jun 2015


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