Chalmers, R. M.; Robinson, G.

Cryptosporidium in upland water biota, United Kingdom (2012-2015)

These data show the presence/absence and identification of Cryptosporidium species from the results of a molecular survey of various upland river biota aquatic invertebrates, biofilms, mammal droppings and fish guts, gills and faeces. Samples were collected from various upland influenced sites from around Wales between 2012 and 2015 and were collected. Additionally, otter samples from UK-wide project were also tested.

Sample collection was primarily undertaken by DURESS researchers at Cardiff University. Sample testing and analysis was performed at the Cryptosporidium Reference Unit, Public Health Wales Microbiology, Swansea. DNA was extracted using a commercially available kit (Gentra PureGene), Qiagen stool and tissue DNA kits for the fish and mammal samples.

These data were collected to provide new information required for the production of a catchment pathogen model to inform ecosystems (dis)services analysis of land use change scenarios for the Diversity in Upland Rivers for Ecosystem Service Sustainability (DURESS) project, part of the NERC Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability (BESS) BESS Programme.

Publication date: 2017-09-14

Get the data

This dataset is made available under the terms of the Open Government Licence

Format of the data: Comma-separated values (CSV)

You must cite: Chalmers, R. M.; Robinson, G. (2017). Cryptosporidium in upland water biota, United Kingdom (2012-2015). NERC Environmental Information Data Centre.


© Public Health Wales


Study area
Temporal extent
2012-05-01    to    2015-07-31

Provenance & quality

Sample preparation methods included a newly developed means of testing whole aquatic invertebrates by grinding them up in Liquid Nitrogen and extracting DNA using a commercially available kit (Gentra PureGene), Qiagen stool and tissue DNA kits for the fish and mammal samples. Nested Image result for PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) PCR targeting Cryptosporidium small subunit rDNA was used to screen the samples for the presence of Cryptosporidium followed by identification of the species using sequencing or species-specific real-time PCRs. Where Cryptosporidium hominis or Cryptosporidium parvum were found, isolates were subtyped by sequencing part of a 60 kilodaltons (kDa) glycoprotein gene. Biota samples were collected by Cardiff University staff and transported to the Cryptosporidium Reference Unit, Swansea for testing. DNA from biofilm samples was extracted at Cardiff University. Invertebrates were pooled up to a maximum of 5 larvae per sample and ground in liquid nitrogen before DNA extracted using the Gentra PureGene DNA extraction kit (Qiagen). Fish gut and gill samples (collected from fish culled for food-web studies) were processed by extracting DNA using the QIAamp DNA Mini kit tissue protocol (Qiagen). Faecal samples from fish, collected by gently massaging the gut just above the anus and mammals, collected from the ground in the riparian zone on ad hoc basis had DNA extracted using QIAamp Fast DNA Stool Mini kit. Samples were screened for any Cryptosporidium DNA using a published nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting the small subunit rhibosomal DNA (rDNA). The presence of DNA from the two main Cryptosporidium species that cause human cryptosporidiosis (Cryptosporidium parvum and Cryptosporidium hominis) was also screened for using species-specific real-time PCRs targeting the Lib13 and A135 genes. Any C. hominis and C. parvum positive samples were subtyped by sequencing part of the 60kDa glycoprotein gene. The prevalence of Cryptosporidium was very low, which could indicate that the water in these upland rivers is not overly contaminated. However, caution must be taken as no water samples were tested as part of this project and the low prevalence may also be linked to the location of the sampling, the sample sizes, the analytical sensitivity of the testing method and/or the potential for the host species tested to actually carry or be infected by Cryptosporidium species.

Results were entered into Excel spreadsheets and exported to comma separated value files for ingestion into the Environmental Information Data Centre.


Correspondence/contact details

Dr. Guy Robinson
Public Health Wales
Cryptosporidium Reference Unit


Chalmers, R. M.
Public Health Wales
Robinson, G.
Public Health Wales

Other contacts

NERC EDS Environmental Information Data Centre
NERC Environmental Information Data Centre
Rights Holder
Public Health Wales

Additional metadata

Topic categories
Health , Biota
Biofilm,  Cryptosporidium,  Diversity of Upland Rivers for Ecosystem Service Sustainability,  DURESS,  Fish,  Invertebrates,  Mammals
Human Health and Safety
Natural Environment Research Council Award: NE/J014818/1
Spatial representation type
Tabular (text)
Spatial reference system
OSGB 1936 / British National Grid
Last updated
20 May 2022 10:22