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General Water Microbiology. Robin Cook. FSEA Fall Meeting and Technical Session 10/17/2007. Introduction . Why we do this matters! How we do this matters! This is not just about meeting a regulatory requirement. . Overview . What are we looking for? Why are we looking? . Vocabulary.

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general water microbiology

General Water Microbiology

Robin Cook

FSEA Fall Meeting and Technical Session



Why we do this matters!

How we do this matters!

This is not just about meeting a regulatory requirement.

  • What are we looking for?
  • Why are we looking?
  • Coliform Bacteria = Gram (-),non-spore-forming, facultative anaerobic, rod-shaped bacteria capable of growth in the presence of bile salts and that ferment lactose with production of gas, acid and aldehyde within 48hrs at 35°C.
  • OR Coliform Bacteria = … possessing the enzyme -galactosidase which cleaves ONPG resulting in a release of a chromogen.
  • These definitions are operational rather than taxonomic and therefore tied to a method as well.
vocabulary cont
Vocabulary cont.
  • This definition includes Enterobacter aerogenes which is NOT typically associated with the intestine.
  • Depending on which defintion Serratia may or may not be a coliform. Not all species will ferment lactose.
vocabulary cont6
Vocabulary Cont.
  • Coliforms are members of the enteric bacteria group also know as the Enterbacteriaceae family.
  • Fecal Coliforms are further defined as thermotolerant coliforms capable of growth with acid and gas formation at 44.5ºC.
enterobacteriaceae family
Enterobacteriaceae Family
  • Klebsiella, Enterobacter, Citrobacter, and Escherichia are classified as coliforms.
  • Escherichiacoli, Citrobacter freundii and thermotolerant Klebsiella pneumoniae are classified as fecal coliforms.
  • Non-coliforms include Proteus, Serratia (depending), Yersinia, Shigella, and Salmonella. These are excluded only because they do not usually ferment lactose.
other indicators
Other indicators
  • Fecal Streptococcus: Gram (+) bacteria which is a normal inhabitant of the GI tract of warm-blooded animals.
    • Only a few are pathogenic
    • Persist well, but do not reproduce in the environment.
    • Many isolates are not associated with humans.
other indicators cont
Other indicators cont.
  • Enterococcus: subgroup of the Fecal Streptococcus
    • can grow in 6.5% NaCl, at pH 9.6 and at both 10ºC and 45ºC.
    • Used to check quality of recreational waters
interesting trivia
Interesting Trivia
  • Ratio of FC:FS
    • FC:FS > 4.0 human contamination
    • FC:FS < 0.7 animal contamination
    • Between suggests a mixed source
    • Only valid in the 1st 24 hours, and technology dependent
concerns and disease
Concerns and Disease:
  • Klebsiella: opportunistic pathogen. Can cause infection in wounds, soft tissue and urinary tract as well as pneumonia in immuno-compromised.
  • Enterobacter, Citrobacter, and Serratia: mostly hospital-related infections
    • Serratia is particularly prevalent in maternity wards
  • E. coli: septiciema, UTI, neonatal meningitis, gastroenteritis and hemorrhagic colitis.
  • Proteus: UTI and contributes to the formation of kidney stones due to pH change it causes.
  • Yersinia: septicemia, enterocolitis, Bubonic Plague.
  • Shigella: gastrointeritis
  • Salmonella typhi: Typhoid Fever
  • Not in the family but grows in the same conditions: Vibrio cholerae which is what causes cholera in untreated water.
indicator organisms
Indicator Organisms
  • Associated with the intestinal tract typically in large numbers
  • Found in warm-blooded animals as well as humans yet will die once excreted
  • Death-rate is similar to the pathogenic Salmonella and Shigella
  • Both coliforms and pathogens react in a similar manner during the water purification process.
  • The presence of coliforms indicates a problem
  • BUT, absence does not necessarily mean that there is not a problem
  • Need as much information as possible to make a good decision.
  • Brock, Thomas D. et al. Biology of Microorganisms 7th ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1994.
  • Cullimore, D. Roy. Practical Manual of Groundwater Microbiology. Boca Raton, FL: Lewis, 1993.
  • Murry, Patrick R., et al. Medical Microbiology 2nd ed. St Loius, MO: Mosby, 1994.