Effects of sediments on the survival of Escherichia coli in marine waters

Charles P Gerba, J. S. McLeod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

194 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Escherichia coli, a fecal coliform, was found to survive for longer periods of time in unsterile natural seawater when sediment material was present than in seawater alone, and at least on one occasion growth was observed to occur. This enteric bacterium was found to increase rapidly in number in autoclaved natural seawater and autoclaved sediment taken from areas receiving domestic wastes, even when the seawater had salinities as high as 34 g/kg. However, in autoclaved seawater, growth was always more gradual and never reached numbers as high as those observed when sediment was present. It was found that nutrients were easily eluted from the sediment after autoclaving or upon addition to artificial seawater, but little elution occurred during mixing of the sediments with unsterile natural seawater. The longer survival of E. coli in the sediment is attributed to the greater content of organic matter present in the sediment than the seawater. These laboratory results, in part, could explain why on a volume basis larger numbers of coliforms and fecal coliforms were found in estuarine sediments than the overlaying water at field sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-120
Number of pages7
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Volume32
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1976
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Seawater
seawater
Escherichia coli
sediments
Water
sediment
water
fecal coliform
estuarine sediments
domestic waste
autoclaving
effect
estuarine sediment
Salinity
Enterobacteriaceae
Growth
intestinal microorganisms
organic matter
salinity
Food

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Microbiology

Cite this

Effects of sediments on the survival of Escherichia coli in marine waters. / Gerba, Charles P; McLeod, J. S.

In: Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Vol. 32, No. 1, 1976, p. 114-120.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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