Partitioning and Fate of Particle-Associated E. coli in River Waters
Abstract:Attachment of fecal bacteria to suspended matter in the water column has important implications for its fate in rivers. We examined the part of Escherichia coli ( E. coli) associated with suspended matter in natural river water samples, using a combination of 5-μm filtration and β-D-glucuronidase (GLUase) assay to estimate the E. coli abundance and attachment. We observed that the fraction of particle-associated E. coli was positively correlated with suspended matter concentration. The settling rate of particle-associated E. coli was found to be positively correlated with suspended matter concentration for samples with suspended matter content lower than 50 mg/L. For samples with higher suspended matter concentration, the settling rate was quite constant (0.066 m/h, on average). In batch experiments using river waters, we observed that free E. coli had a decay rate approximately 2 times higher than particle-associated E. coli. This information can be used to improve the models on the fate of E. coli in rivers.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Ecology of Aquatic Systems, Free University of Brussels (ULB), Brussels, Belgium.
Publication date: January 1, 2009
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