How to detect the presence of faecal material? - (Jan/23/2014 )
I am back with another odd question. I am studying small mammals and have to collect faeces from them on the field. Problem is that, for some frugivorous species with high metabolism, food is processed quickly through the digestive tract resulting in faeces visually looking a lot like crushed (old) fruits. So my question is: can anybody come up with a simple protocol (ideally, usable on the field) to check whether a sample is really a faeces? Or, in biological terms, do you have an idea what could be present/absent and allow to discriminate such samples?
Thanks a lot in advance for your help.
P.S.: I was not sure which section of the forum was the most appropriate. Sorry if my choice was inappropriate.
you can test for the presence of e. coli.
there is a rapid test for e. coli in water (you can put some of the fruit in water and test it) discussed here.
or, perhaps a microfluidic chip would suit your purposes.
or a paper strip test.
If they are tree living species, you also could install a number of collecting funnels made of 1 sqm plastic film or cloth. You hang several of them in the trees and collect the faeces regularly.
Thanks for the replies!
@mdfenko: testing for E. coli indeed seems like the most obvious choice. In this axis, for future reference, the following links might actually be interesting too;
@hobglobin: I also do this when possible, but in many of my field settings it is not an option.