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Microbial pathogens in the Umgeni River, South Africa
Expanded Title:Samples from the Umgeni River were collected during the autumn, winter, spring and summer seasons. Physico-chemical parameters including, temperature, pH, turbidity, biological oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand, conductivity, dissolved nutrient concentrations and heavy-metals (Pb, Hg, Cd and Cu) were measured. The standard bacterial indicators included Total Coliforms, Faecal Coliforms, Enterococci and Faecal Streptococci. Presumptive Salmonella spp., Shigella spp. and Vibrio cholerae were also detected. Most of the water samples contained high populations of somatic coliphages, FRNA coliphages and many other virus-like particles (VLPs). Several presumptive virus types including Adenoviridae, Caliciviridae (Norovirus), Coronaviridae, Herpesviridae, Orthomyxoviridae (Influenza virus), Picornaviridae (Enterovirus), Poxviridae, and Reoviridae (Rotavirus) were found during all seasons based on the morphologies using Transmission Electron Microscopy. Potentially pathogenic enteric viruses such as adenoviruses, enteroviruses, rotaviruses and Hepatitis B viruses were detected and shown to infect human tissue cultures. The results show that the Umgeni River water quality, especially in the lower reaches, has been contaminated by chemicals, bacteria and viruses. Many microbial levels were above target water quality guideline levels for recreational and drinking water purposes, although river water is never managed to achieve drinking water quality. This study serves as a reminder of the importance of well-functioning drinking water treatment plants. Furthermore, the results would also raise concerns for those who may consume water directly from the river without any form of treatment. This work contributed to one PhD.
Date Published:01/11/2012
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:R & D - Methodology
Document Keywords:Water Quality
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Technical
WRC Report No:KV 303/12
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0347-5
Authors:Lin J; Ganesh A; Singh M
Project No:K8/990
Originator:WRC
Organizations:Discipline of Microbiology, School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal; Discipline of Biochemistry, School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Document Size:2 740 KB
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