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Why test water for coliform bacteria rather than for

pathogenic bacteria which maybe present?


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Best Answer: It's much easier to test for coliform bacteria and the test is considered
presumptive. That is, if coliform bacteria are present, pathogenic bacteria MAY be present. So
absence of the more general bacteria will suffice to prove absence of the pathogenic bacteria.
cattbarf 9 years ago
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as it has already been said, it is easy to test the coliform count, and with that an assumption can
be made about the presence of pathogenic microorganisms. other than that, coliform survives in
the same conditions as most pathogenic bacteria, so the presence of coliform in a tested water
suggests that a pathogenic bacteria can survive as well. and there are multitude of pathogenic
bacteria out there, each with unique tests for their presence, so it takes a longer time to test for
the pathogens. so coliform testing is both easy and fast way of identifying the presence of
pathogens in water.hope this helps...
brownorso 9 years ago
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Coliform is the common bacteria found in human waste. Testing waters for that will see if there
are elevated levels greater than what in naturally present. If there is a concern of higher level of
pathogenic bacteria, such as "red tide", then that would/should be tested for.

What is the significance of a positive presumptive


test?
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Best Answer: depending of the test.


if the test disclose that the substance is NOT what are you seaching for, a positive result means
that you are certain that what you have is not what the presumptive test is made for.
If it's negative you are suspecting that maybe what you have tested is really what the
presumptive test is for.
If the presumptive test is made for revealing what are you searching for, than it's the contrary of
what I have written some lines up here.
a short example:
Kastle-Meyer test, reveal that the sample is NOT blood.
POSITIVE result means you are sure that is not blood

NEGATIVE result means that MAYBE the substance is blood, but more tests are necessary,
because the test is made only to reveal non-blood samples.

Microboilogy of water?
*why is water tested for coliform bacteria rather than for pathogenic bacteria which may be
present?
*What is the advantage of using the MPN technique in the bacteriological analysis of water?
*What is the significance of a positive presumptive test?
*What microorganisms besides coliforms are liable to give a positive presumptive test?
*What is the advantage in using LSTB in the presumptive test for the presence of coliforms?
*Why can EMB agar can be used to detect the presence of E. Coli in particular?
*What is the bacteriological standard for drinking water?
*List four human diseases that may be transmitted by water?
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6.

History

Eosin-methylene blue (EMB) agar was first developed by Holt-Harris and Teague in 1916. They used EMB agar to
clearly differentiate between the colonies of lactose fermenting and nonfermenting microbes. In the same medium,
sucrose was also included to differentiate between coliforms that were able to ferment sucrose more rapidly than
lactose and those that were unable to ferment sucrose. Lactose fermenter colonies were either black or possessed
dark centers with transparent and colorless outer margins, while lactose or sucrose nonfermenters were
colorless. EMB agar was shown to be more sensitive and stable and differentiated between sugar fermenters and
nonfermenters faster when compared to other agars.
In 1918, Levine described an EMB agar that differentiated between fecal and nonfecal types of the coli aerogenes
group. It also differentiated between salmonellae and other nonlactose fermenters from the coliforms.
Present day Bacto EMB agar is a combination of the EMB agar described by Holt-Harris and Teague and Levine. It
contains lactose and sucrose (as described by Holt-Harris and Teague) and also contains Bacto peptone and
phosphate (as described by Levine). The two indicator dyes, eosin and methylene blue, are used in a ratio to

impart minimum toxicity but provide best differentiation.


Purpose
Eosin-methylene blue agar is selective for gram-negative bacteria against gram-positive bacteria. In addition, EMB
agar is useful in isolation and differentiation of the various gram-negative bacilli and enteric bacilli, generally known
as coliforms and fecal coliforms respectively (8). The bacteria which ferment lactose in the medium form colored
colonies, while those that do not ferment lactose appear as colorless colonies (1). EMB agar is used in water
quality tests to distinguish coliforms and fecal coliforms that signal possible pathogenic microorganism
contamination in water samples. EMB agar is also used to differentiate the organisms in the colon-typhoiddysentery group: Escherichia coli colonies grow with a metallic sheen with a dark center, Aerobacter
aerogenescolonies have a brown center, and nonlactose-fermenting gram-negative bacteria appear pink (5).
Theory
EMB agar contains peptone, lactose, sucrose, and the dyes eosin Y and methylene blue; it is commonly used as
both a selective and a differential medium. EMB agar is selective for gram-negative bacteria. The dye methylene
blue in the medium inhibits the growth of gram-positive bacteria; small amounts of this dye effectively inhibit the
growth of most gram-positive bacteria (8). Eosin is a dye that responds to changes in pH, going from colorless to
black under acidic conditions. EMB agar medium contains lactose and sucrose, but not glucose, as energy
sources. The sugars found in the medium are fermentable substrates which encourage growth of some gramnegative bacteria, especially fecal and nonfecal coliforms. Differentiation of enteric bacteria is possible due to the
presence of the sugars lactose and sucrose in the EMB agar and the ability of certain bacteria to ferment lactose in
the medium. Lactose-fermenting gram-negative bacteria (generally enteric) acidify the medium, and under acidic
conditions the dyes produce a dark purple complex which is usually associated with a green metallic sheen. This
metallic green sheen is an indicator of vigorous lactose and/or sucrose fermentation ability typical of fecal
coliforms. A smaller amount of acid production, which is a result of slow fermentation (by slow lactose-fermenting
organisms), gives a brown-pink coloration of growth. Colonies of nonlactose fermenters appear as translucent or
pink (6, 9).

Protozoal infections[edit]
Disease and
Transmission

Microbial
Agent

Amoebiasis(h
and-to-mouth)

Protozoan
(Entamoeb
a
Sewage, non-treated drinking
histolytica)
water, flies in water supply
(Cyst-like
appearance
)

Abdominal discomfort, fatigue,


weight
loss,diarrhea, bloating, fever

Protozoan
(Cryptosp
oridium
parvum)

Flu-like symptoms, watery


diarrhea, loss of appetite,
substantial loss of
weight, bloating, increased

Cryptosporidi
osis(oral)

Sources of Agent in Water


Supply

Collects on water filters and


membranes that cannot
be disinfected, animal manure,
seasonalrunoff of water.

General Symptoms

gas, nausea

Protozoan
parasite
(Cyclospor Sewage, non-treated drinking
Cyclosporiasis
a
water
cayetanens
is)

Protozoan
(Giardia
Giardiasis (fec lamblia)
al-oral) (hand- Most
to-mouth)
common
intestinal
parasite

Microsporidio
sis

Protozoan
phylum
(Microspo
ridia), but
closely
related
to fungi

cramps, nausea, vomiting,


muscle aches, fever, and
fatigue

Untreated water, poor disinfection,


pipe breaks,
leaks, groundwater contamination,
Diarrhea, abdominal
campgrounds where humans and
discomfort, bloating,
wildlife use same source of
andflatulence
water. Beavers and muskratscreate
ponds that act as reservoirs for
Giardia.

Encephalitozoon intestinalis has


been detected in groundwater, the
origin of drinking water [6]

Diarrhea
and wasting in immunocompro
misedindividuals..

Parasitic infections[edit]
Microbial
Agent

Sources of Agent
in Water Supply

General Symptoms

Schistosomiasis(immersio
n)

Members of the
genusSchistoso
ma

Fresh water
contaminated
with certain types
of snails that
carry schistosom
es

Blood in urine (depending on


the type of infection), rash or
itchy skin. Fever, chills, cough
and muscle aches

Dracunculiasis(Guinea

Dracunculus

Stagnant water

Allergic

Disease and species

medinensis

containing
larvae, generally
in parasitised
Copepoda

reaction, urticaria rash, nausea,


vomiting, diarrhea, asthmatic
attack.

Taeniasis

Tapeworms of
the genus Taenia

Drinking water
contaminated
with eggs

Intestinal disturbances,
neurologic manifestations, loss
of
weight, cysticercosis, Coenuro
sis

Fasciolopsiasis

Fasciolopsis
buski

Drinking water
contaminated
with encysted
metacercaria

GIT disturbance, diarrhea,


liver enlargement, cholangitis,
cholecystitis, obstructive
jaundice.

Hymenolepiasis(Dwarf
Tapeworm Infection)

Hymenolepis
nana

Drinking water
contaminated
with eggs

Abdominal pain, severe weight


loss, itching around the anus,
nervous manifestation

Echinococcus
granulosus

Drinking water
contaminated
with feces
(usually canid)
containing eggs

Liver enlargement, hydatid


cysts press on bile duct and
blood vessels; if cysts rupture
they can causeanaphylactic
shock

Mostly, disease is
asymptomatic or accompanied
by inflammation, fever, and
diarrhea. Severe cases
involve Lffler's syndrome in
lungs, nausea,
vomiting, malnutrition,
and underdevelopment.

Peri-anal itch, nervous


irritability, hyperactivity
and insomnia

Worm Disease)

Echinococcosis(Hydatid
disease)

Ascariasis

Ascaris
lumbricoides

Drinking water
contaminated
with feces
(usually canid)
containing eggs

Enterobiasis

Enterobius
vermicularis

Drinking water
contaminated
with eggs

Bacterial infections[edit]
Disease and
Transmissio
n

Microbial Agent

Sources of Agent in Water


Supply

General Symptoms

Botulism

Clostridium botulinum

Dry
Bacteria can enter an open
mouth, blurred and/or do
wound from contaminated
uble vision, difficulty
water sources. Can enter the swallowing, muscle
gastrointestinal tract
weakness, difficulty
through consumption of
breathing, slurred
contaminated drinking
speech, vomiting and
water or (more commonly) sometimes diarrhea.
food
Death is usually caused
by respiratory failure.

Campylobact
eriosis

Most commonly caused


byCampylobacter jejuni

Drinking water
contaminated with feces

Produces dysentery like


symptoms along with
a high fever. Usually lasts
210 days.

Drinking water
contaminated with the
bacterium

In severe forms it is
known to be one of the
most rapidly fatal
illnesses known.
Symptoms include very
watery
diarrhea, nausea, cramps,
nosebleed, rapid pulse,
vomiting,
and hypovolemic
shock (in severe cases), at
which point death can
occur in 1218 hours.

Cholera

Spread by the
bacteriumVibrio
cholerae

E.
Certain strains
coli Infection of Escherichia
coli (commonly E. coli)

Water contaminated with


the bacteria

Mostly diarrhea. Can


cause death
in immunocompromised i
ndividuals, the very
young, and the elderly
due to dehydration from

prolonged illness.

Naturally occurs in water,


most cases from exposure
in swimming pools or more
frequently aquariums; rare
infection since it mostly
infects immunocompromise
d individuals

Symptoms
include lesions typically
located on the elbows,
knees, and feet
(fromswimming pools) or
lesions on the hands
(aquariums). Lesions may
be painless or painful.

M.
marinuminfe
ction

Mycobacterium
marinum

Dysentery

Caused by a number of
species in the
generaShigella and Salm Water contaminated with
onella with the most
the bacterium
common beingShigella
dysenteriae

Frequent passage
of feces with blood and/o
r mucus and in some
cases vomiting of blood.

Caused by bacteria
belonging to
genusLegionella (90%
of cases caused
by Legionella
pneumophila)

Pontiac fever produces


milder symptoms
resembling
acute influenza withoutpn
eumonia. Legionnaires'
disease has severe
symptoms such
as fever, chills,
pneumonia (with cough
that sometimes
produces sputum), ataxia,
anorexia, muscle
aches, malaise and
occasionally diarrhea and
vomiting

Legionellosis
(two distinct
forms:
Legionnaires'
disease and
Pontiac
fever)

Leptospirosis Caused by bacterium of


genus Leptospira

Contaminated water: the


organism thrives in warm
aquatic environments.

Water contaminated by the


animal urine carrying the
bacteria

Begins with flu-like


symptoms then resolves.
The second phase then
occurs
involvingmeningitis, liver
damage
(causes jaundice),

and renal failure

Otitis
Externa(swi
mmer's ear)

Caused by a number
Swimming in water
ofbacterial and fungal sp contaminated by the
ecies.
responsible pathogens

Salmonellosi
s

Caused by many
bacteria of
genus Salmonella

Typhoid
fever

Salmonella typhi

Vibrio vulnificus, Vibrio


Vibrio Illness alginolyticus, and Vibrio
parahaemolyticus

Ear canal swells, causing


pain and tenderness to the
touch

Drinking water
contaminated with the
bacteria. More common as
a food borne illness.

Symptoms
include diarrhea, fever,
vomiting, and abdominal
cramps

Ingestion of water
contaminated with feces of
an infected person

Characterized by
sustained fever up to
40 C (104 F),
profuse sweating;
diarrhea may occur.
Symptoms progress
to delirium, and
the spleen and liver enlar
ge if untreated. In this
case it can last up to four
weeks and cause death.
Some people with
typhoid fever develop a
rash called "rose spots",
small red spots on the
abdomen and chest.

Can enter wounds from


contaminated water. Also
acquired by drinking
contaminated water or
eating undercooked oysters.

Symptoms include
abdominal tenderness,
agitation, bloody stools,
chills, confusion,
difficulty paying attention
(attention deficit),
delirium, fluctuating
mood, hallucination,
nosebleeds, severe
fatigue, slow, sluggish,
lethargic feeling,
weakness.

[7][8]

Viral infections[edit]
Disease and
Transmission

Viral Agent

Sources of
Agent in
Water
Supply

General Symptoms

Symptoms
include fever, myalgia, lethargy, gastrointesti
nal symptoms, cough, and sore throat

SARS (Severe
Acute
Respiratory
Syndrome)

Coronavirus

Manifests
itself in
improperly
treated water

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A
virus (HAV)

Symptoms are only acute (no chronic stage


Can manifest
to the virus) and include Fatigue, fever,
itself in water
abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, weight
(and food)
loss, itching, jaundice and depression.

Poliomyelitis(Po
lio)

Polyomavirus
infection

Poliovirus

Enters water
through
the feces of
infected
individuals

90-95% of patients show no symptoms, 48% have minor symptoms (comparatively)


with delirium, headache,fever, and
occasional seizures, and spastic paralysis,
1% have symptoms of non-paralytic aseptic
meningitis. The rest have serious symptoms
resulting in paralysis or death

Two
ofPolyomavirus
:JC
virus and BK
virus

Very
widespread,
can manifest
itself in
water, ~80%
of the
population
hasantibodies
to
Polyomaviru
s

BK virus produces a mild respiratory


infection and can infect
the kidneys of immunosuppressed transplant
patients. JC virus infects the respiratory
system, kidneys or can cause progressive
multifocal leukoencephalopathy in
the brain (which is fatal).