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Application of a Pathogenicity Marker Found in Escherichia coli for the Assessment of Irrigation Water Quality

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A polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based method was developed to differentiate between pathogenic and nonpathogenic Escherichia coli (E. coli). A pathogenicity marker, linked to the deletion of the ygfB gene, was identified in 80% of the clinical E. coli isolates tested. This marker, combined with the malic acid dehydrogenase gene, formed the duplex PCR that was subsequently used to screen E. coli isolates recovered from two secondary wastewater treatment plants (STPs) and a river site. All waters samples are used to irrigate dairy farm pasture in the West Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia. Results from three consecutive months of sampling (December 2001 and January and February 2002) indicated that Longwarry STP showed 8, 8, and 0% pathogenic E. coli; Pakenham STP showed 0, 12.5, and 33%; and the Bunyip river site showed 20, 12, and 25% respectively.

Keywords: Escherichia coli; irrigation; pathogenic; water quality

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2007

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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