Implications of faecal indicator bacteria for the microbiological assessment of roof harvested rainwater quality in Southeast Queensland, Australia

Ahmed, Warish, Goonetilleke, Ashantha, & Gardner, Ted (2010) Implications of faecal indicator bacteria for the microbiological assessment of roof harvested rainwater quality in Southeast Queensland, Australia. Canadian Journal of Microbiology, 56(6), pp. 471-479.

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The study aimed to evaluate the suitability of Escherichia coli, enterococci and C. perfringens to assess the microbiological quality of roof harvested rainwater, and to assess whether the concentrations of these faecal indicators can be used to predict the presence or absence of specific zoonotic bacterial or protozoan pathogens. From a total of 100 samples tested, respectively 58%, 83% and 46% of samples were found to be positive for E. coli, enterococci and C. perfringens spores, as determined by traditional culture based methods. Additionally, in the samples tested, 7%, 19%, 1%, 8%, 17%, and 15% were PCR positive for A. hydrophila lip, C. coli ceuE, C. jejuni mapA, L. pneumophila mip, Salmonella invA, and G. lamblia β-giardin genes. However, none of the samples was positive for E. coli O157 LPS, VT1, VT2 and C. parvum COWP genes. The presence or absence of these potential pathogens did not correlate with any of the faecal indicator bacterial concentrations as determined by a binary logistic regression model. The roof-harvested rainwater samples tested in this study appear to be of poor microbiological quality and no significant correlation was found between the concentration of faecal indicators and pathogenic microorganisms. The use of faecal indicator bacteria raises questions regarding their reliability in assessing the microbiological quality of water and particularly their poor correlation with pathogenic microorganisms. The presence of one or more zoonotic pathogens suggests that the microbiological analysis of water should be performed, and appropriate treatment measures should be undertaken especially in tanks where the water is used for drinking.

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33 citations in Scopus
28 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 33655
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: faecal indicators, enteric pathogens, roof-harvested rainwater, PCR, public health risk
DOI: 10.1139/W10-037
ISSN: 1480-3275
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (059900)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING (090700) > Environmental Engineering Modelling (090702)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Urban Development
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 NRC Research Press, National Research Council of Canada
Deposited On: 01 Aug 2010 23:26
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 14:18

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