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Water SA

On-line version ISSN 1816-7950
Print version ISSN 0378-4738


WUTOR, VC; TOGO, CA  and  PLETSCHKE, BI. Suitability of total coliform β-D-galactosidase activity and CFU counts in monitoring faecal contamination of environmental water samples. Water SA [online]. 2009, vol.35, n.1, pp.85-88. ISSN 1816-7950.

Total coliforms are a group of bacteria found in high numbers in mammalian intestines; hence their presence in water indicates the possible contamination with faecal material. Total and faecal coliform counts were monitored over a period of 18 months using mFC, m-Endo and CM1046 media together with enzymatic assays on 215 environmental water samples obtained from the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. A positive correlation, with an R2 value of 0.9393 was observed between faecal and total coliform colony units employing mFc and m-Endo media, and 0.8818 using CM1046 media. Also, a positive correlation was observed between Escherichia coli colony-forming units and β-d-galactosidase (B-GAL) activity (R2=0.8542). Overall, this study indicated that faecal contamination of environmental water samples could be monitored by measuring total coliform β-galactosidase activity and total coliform colony-forming units.

Keywords : colony-forming units (CFUs); coliforms; E. coli; β-d-galactosidase (B-GAL); β-D-glucuronidase (GUD).

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