Selected methods recommended in national and international water quality guidelines were compared in tests on environmental waters with different levels of faecal pollution. The following methods yielded no statistically significant differences in counts of faecal coliforms and Escherichia coli in raw sewage, semi-treated effluent, polluted urban run-off and stored potable water: Membrane filtration (MF) using MFc Agar or Chromocult Coliform Agar containing X-glucuronide, or a miniaturised microtitre-plate Most Probable Number (MPN) assay using a liquid growth medium containing chromogenic 4-methyl-umbelliferyl-β-D-glucuronide. Significant differences were, however, found between the Chromocult and the other methods for unpolluted river water. Counts of faecal enterococci in raw sewage, semi-treated effluent and polluted urban run-off, obtained by the following methods did not differ significantly: MF using M-Enterococcus Agar, Bile-Esculin Agar or Enterococcus Selective Agar, or a microtitre-plate MPN method with a liquid growth medium containing chromogenic 4-methyl-umbelliferyl-β-D-glucoside. Significant differences were, however, found between the MPN and the other methods for unpolluted river water and stored potable water. MF using Chromocult Coliform Agar had useful benefits for the simultaneous enumeration of coliforms and E coli. However, in view of cost and practical considerations, MF using MFc Agar or M-Enterococcus Agar proved the methods of choice for respectively enumerating faecal coliforms and E coli, or faecal enterococci, in analyses for general water quality surveillance purposes.
Quantitative Microbiology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 8, 2004
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