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Investigations into the existence of unique environmental Escherichia coli populations
Expanded Title:E. coli is widely used as an indicator of recent faecal contamination. This is based on the assumption that it does not multiply or survive for long periods outside the intestines of warm-blooded animals. However, several recent studies have reported that some E. coli strains are capable of surviving and multiplying in the environment and were present in the absence of any obvious faecal contamination. This raises questions about the suitability of E. coli as an indicator. The overall aim of this study was to obtain E. coil isolates from local water resources and determine whether or not populations exist that are distinct from that found in humans and warm-blooded animals. In a series of samples from dams in the Highveld region, it was evident that there was a high level of diversity within the E. coli population isolated from aquatic environments. Although many of the strains isolated could not be distinguished from the sewage isolates, there was some evidence that some plant-associated isolates showed some level of separation from the rest of the E. coli population. Future studies could focus on these genetically distinct E. coli strains to establish the degree to which they affect interpretation of E. coli analyses performed to protect human health.
Date Published:01/07/2013
Document Type:Research Report
Document Keywords:Water Quality
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Standard
WRC Report No:1967/1/13
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0442-7
Authors:MacRae SC; Seale T; Steenkamp ET; Brözel VS; Venter SN
Project No:K5/1967
Organizations:Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology, University of Pretoria; Department of Biology and Microbiology, South Dakota State University
Document Size:437 KB
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