Applied and environmental microbiology

Comparison of the recoveries of Escherichia coli and total coliforms from drinking water by the MI agar method and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved membrane filter method.

PMID 8572697


Drinking water regulations under the Final Coliform Rule require that total coliform-positive drinking water samples be examined for the presence of Escherichia coli or fecal coliforms. The current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved membrane filter (MF) method for E. coli requires two media, an MF transfer, and a total incubation time of 28 h. A newly developed MF method, the MI agar method, containing indoxyl-beta-D-glucuronide and 4-methylumbelliferyl-beta-D-galactopyranoside for the simultaneous detection of E. coli and total coliforms, respectively, by means of their specific enzyme reactions, was compared with the approved method by the use of wastewater-spiked tap water samples. Overall, weighted analysis of variance (significance level, 0.05) showed that the new medium recoveries of total coliforms and E. coli were significantly higher than those of mEndo agar and nutrient agar plus MUG (4-methylumbelliferyl-beta-D-glucuronide), respectively, and the background counts were significantly lower than those of mEndo agar (< 5%). Generally, the tap water source, overall chlorine level, wastewater source, granular activated carbon treatment of the tap water, and method of grouping data by E. coli count for statistical analysis did not affect the performance of the new medium.

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