eCite Digital Repository

Molecular tools for bathing water assessment in Europe: Balancing social science research with a rapidly developing environmental science evidence-base


Oliver, DM and Hanley, ND and Neirkerk van, M and Kay, D and Heathwaite, AL and Rabinovici, SJM and Kinzelman, JL and Fleming, LE and Porter, J and Shaikh, S and Fish, R and Chilton, S and Hewitt, J and Connolly, E and Cummins, A and Glenk, K and McPhail, C and McRory, E and McVittie, A and Giles, A and Roberts, S and Simpson, R and Simpson, K and Tinch, D and Thairs, T and Avery, LM and Vinten, AJA and Watts, BD and Quilliam, RS, Molecular tools for bathing water assessment in Europe: Balancing social science research with a rapidly developing environmental science evidence-base, Ambio, 45, (1) pp. 52-62. ISSN 0044-7447 (2015) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright The Author(s) 2015. This article is published with open access at under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License.

DOI: doi:10.1007/s13280-015-0698-9


The use of molecular tools, principally qPCR, versus traditional culture-based methods for quantifying microbial parameters (e.g., Fecal Indicator Organisms) in bathing waters generates considerable ongoing debate at the science–policy interface. Advances in science have allowed the development and application of molecular biological methods for rapid (~2 h) quantification of microbial pollution in bathing and recreational waters. In contrast, culture-based methods can take between 18 and 96 h for sample processing. Thus, molecular tools offer an opportunity to provide a more meaningful statement of microbial risk to water-users by providing near-real-time information enabling potentially more informed decision-making with regard to water-based activities. However, complementary studies concerning the potential costs and benefits of adopting rapid methods as a regulatory tool are in short supply. We report on findings from an international Working Group that examined the breadth of social impacts, challenges, and research opportunities associated with the application of molecular tools to bathing water regulations.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Bathing Water Directive – Fecal indicator organism – Microbial pollution – Public perception – Recreational water quality – Risk communication
Research Division:Economics
Research Group:Applied economics
Research Field:Environment and resource economics
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Understanding climate change not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Tinch, D (Dr Dugald Tinch)
ID Code:104810
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:9
Deposited By:TSBE
Deposited On:2015-11-20
Last Modified:2018-04-04
Downloads:210 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page