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Measuring Stream Microbiology: Preliminary Results. Dr. Robert D. Simon Mr. Jacob D. Almeida Mr. Jonah Stevens Department of Biology SUNY-Geneseo. Microbial Quality is Monitored by Measuring Surrogates. Coliforms Fecal Coliforms Escherichia coli Fecal Streptococci Enterococci

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Measuring Stream Microbiology:

Preliminary Results

Dr. Robert D. Simon

Mr. Jacob D. Almeida

Mr. Jonah Stevens

Department of Biology


microbial quality is monitored by measuring surrogates
Microbial Quality is Monitored by Measuring Surrogates
  • Coliforms
  • Fecal Coliforms
  • Escherichia coliFecal Streptococci
  • Enterococci
  • Total Heterotrophic Bacteria
  • Found in the gut and feces of warm-blooded animals
  • Aerobic and facultative anaerobic, Gram-negative, non-spore forming rod shaped bacteria that ferment lactose with gas formation within 48 hours at 35 °C.
  • Enterobacteriaceae
  • Membrane Filtration (MF) MF - Dark colony with a metalic sheen on an “Endo” type medium.
fecal coliforms
Fecal Coliforms
  • A subset of Total Coliforms
  • Fecal coliforms - Produce gas from lactose at 44.5 °C.
  • Prior to its 1986, EPA recommended the use of fecal coliforms as an indicator organism to protect bathers from gastrointestinal illness in recreational waters.
membrane filter methods for total coliforms and e coli using millipore mcoliblue24
Membrane Filter methods for Total Coliforms and E. coli using Millipore mColiBlue24
  • Next day results
  • Easy to read with turbid samples
  • Clonal isolates can be saved for further study
fecal streptococcus
Fecal Streptococcus
  • Isolated from the feces of warm-blooded animals
  • A number of species of the genus Streptococcus
  • It is not possible to differentiate the source of fecal contamination based on speciation
  • FC/FS ratio can also not be used as a means of differentiating human and animal feces
  • A subgroup of fecal streptococci, including:S. faecalis, S. faecium, S. gallinarum, S. avium
  • Differentiated by ability to grow in 6.5% NaCl at 10 °C and 45 °C
  • Difco m Enterococcus Agar
heterotrophic bacteria
Heterotrophic Bacteria
  • Bacto R2A Agar. A low-nutrient medium. Incubation at 25 °C for 40-72 hours, stimulates the growth of stressed and chlorine-tolerant bacteria
  • Multiple 20 l drops of water dilutions are spotted on plates, and micro-colonies are counted under a dissecting microscope
epa s recommended 1986 water quality criteria for bacteria in recreational fresh water
EPA’s Recommended 1986 Water Quality Criteria for Bacteria in Recreational Fresh Water
  • Based on the epidemiology of water-born disease occurrence as E. coli and Enterococci levels exhibit a strong correlation to swimming-associated gastroenteritis.
two types of stream flow
Two Types of Stream Flow
  • Regular Flow (Grab Samples)
    • Slow flow during the summer, a portion probably from groundwater
    • It is surprising how much flow there is in the Winter
    • Weekly measure stream characteristics
  • Events
    • Due to rain or snow melt
assessing overall stream microbial quality from grab samples
Assessing Overall Stream Microbial Quality From Grab Samples
  • Because of the variability in individual measurements, it is valuable to to combine monthly regular (non-event) estimates.
  • The geometric means of monthly samples are calculated because this damps out the effect of a few extreme values.

Experimental sites

with weed beds

Control sites

with weed beds


Experimental site

without weed beds

Control sites

without weed beds

Sand Point

Long Point

Long Pt.


McPhersons Point



Sutton Point





conclusions about regular flow
Conclusions about Regular Flow
  • E. coli and Enterococcus levels are seasonal
  • Total Coliforms and Heterotrophic Bacteria vary little over the year.
  • Graywood is the most regularly contaminated stream and on the western side of the lake the streams at the northern end have the most problems with water quality.
  • The Number and Characteristics, of Events vary by Season and Stream Source
  • There are Different Types of Events
given the large inputs into streams during events do these persist in the stream or lake
Given the Large Inputs into Streams During Events Do these Persist in the Stream or Lake?
  • Sediment Microbiology
  • Analysis of Fecal Coliform Levels in Sediments from the Stream and Lake Near the Stream Outfalls
  • No Evidence for Significant Accumulations of Fecal Material in Sediments or Stream Bottoms
future plans
Future Plans
  • Continue monitoring program
  • Use current data to better understand the number, types and magnitude of different events. This may aid in monitoring clean-up as one might aim to prevent certain event types.
  • Examine the changing character of the Heterotrophic bacterial flora