Bayesian community-wide culture-independent microbial source tracking

Nat Methods. 2011 Jul 17;8(9):761-3. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1650.


Contamination is a critical issue in high-throughput metagenomic studies, yet progress toward a comprehensive solution has been limited. We present SourceTracker, a Bayesian approach to estimate the proportion of contaminants in a given community that come from possible source environments. We applied SourceTracker to microbial surveys from neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), offices and molecular biology laboratories, and provide a database of known contaminants for future testing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bayes Theorem*
  • Community-Acquired Infections / microbiology
  • Computational Biology
  • Cross Infection / etiology
  • Disease Reservoirs / microbiology*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Fomites / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Interior Design and Furnishings
  • Laboratories
  • Telephone