University of Wisconsin-Madison Physical Sciences Lab

Example: Soil Columns

Photo of Soil Column

Research Identifies Source of Water Contamination

Microbial Source Tracking (MST) research uses several host-specific organisms to identify the source of contamination of drinking and recreational water. When studying groundwater it is important to keep in mind the soil around it. In most cases, soil acts as a filter to groundwater by keeping out harmful microorganisms and compounds. PSL assisted by building soil columns, which are packed with various types of soil and sand. Organisms are then introduced and the column is washed with buffer. The effluent will be collected in fractions, which is then tested for the presence and concentration of the organism added. This will help answer the question of if and how MST targets move through the soil.