Improving Water Quality With Novel Diagnostics: Policy Brief on the Potential Use of Metagenomics for Improved Water Quality Testing

Scientists at universities and public health institutions across Canada, including the BC Centers for Disease Control Public Health Laboratory, are using metagenomics to study the microbial communities in the water in order to develop new tests to assess water quality. Metagenomics has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of how perturbations in these microbial communities are linked to water quality with ramifications for drinking water and other applications. Although chemical pollution is not a focus of the current research, the state of these microbial communities can also indicate whether chemical or other contamination has occurred (e.g., temperature or other biophysical changes also shift the composition and function of these microbial communities).

Compiled by:

GE3LS Research Team: Dr. Leila Harris and Dr. Natalie Prystajecky (CoChairs), Dr. Natalie Henrich, Dr. Bev Holmes, Dr. Karen Bakker, Gemma Dunn, Ida Ngueng Feze, Dr. Yann Joly, Prof. Bartha Knoppers, Stanislav Birko, Edward S. Dove, Dr. Vural Ozdemir. Watershed Metagenomics

Project leaders: Dr. Patrick Tang and Dr. Judith Isaac-Renton

University of British Columbia, June 16, 2017

Policy Brief – Improving Water Quality with Novel Diagnostics