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You are here:  HomeCompleted ProjectsMicrobial community structure of Nakivubo Channel Ecosystem

Goal: The Nakivubo Channel is a river which passes through the city of Kampala and empties into Lake Victoria at Port Bell.

It is probably the most polluted ecosystem in Uganda with sewage, industrial waste, and rain run-off mixing in the river. 

Despite the pollution, many urban residents live close to the river and use its water for various purposes. The goal was to determine the type and numbers of bacteria found at various points along the course of the river and to determine the association between bacterial pollution and major illnesses reported by health clinics which serve the human populations at these sentinel points.  Soil sediments were collected from sentinel points, environmental DNA was directly extracted from the soil, and 16S rRNA genes amplified by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR products were subcloned into the plasmid pUC19 and sequenced. The DNA sequences of over 500 bacterial isolates were compared with a database of known bacterial 16S RRNA genes. Clinics were visited and records of illnesses extracted.


The levels of pesticides and heavy metals were not analyzed due to lack of equipment. The impact of these pollutants on human health was therefore not assessed.