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A Comparison of Enumeration Techniques for Cryptosporidium Parvum Oocysts

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Abstract:A variety of methods have been used to enumerate Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts from source or drinking waters. The reliability of these counting methods varies, in part, with suspension density, sample purity, and other factors. Frequently, the method of determination of suspension density is not reported by authors. To confound the problem, each method of counting has large inherent variation. There is a relationship between suspension density, overall number of organisms counted, and counting mechanism accuracy that should be accounted for when selecting a counting mechanism. This study selected a maximum acceptable coefficient of variatin (CV) to be 10%. A method was considered unreliable if this standard was not achieved. Flow cytometry achieved this standard at 486 oocysts/ml. Counting with a Coulter counter achieved this level of reliability at about 1,230 oocysts/ml. Neither chamber slides nor fluorescent antibody-stained well slides ever demonstrated less than 10% CV. However, estimates of the minimum required concentrations were 5,100 oocysts/ml and approximately 6,500 oocysts/ml, respectively. The hemacytometer provided counts accurate to a 10% CV at a concentration of at least 60,000 organisms/ml. Of the methods tested, flow cytometry provided the least amount of variability at low suspension densities.
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Citation:Bennett, J. W., M. Gauci, S. Lemoenic, F. W. Schaefer III, and H. A. Lindquist. A Comparison of Enumeration Techniques for Cryptosporidium Parvum Oocysts. JOURNAL OF PARASITOLOGY 85(6):1168-1170, (1999).
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Contact: Mary P. O'Bryant - (919)-541-4871 or obriant.mary@epa.gov
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Division: Microbiological & Chemical Exposure Assessment Division
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Branch: Biohazard Assessment Research Branch
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Product Type: Journal
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Published: 12/01/1999
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Downloads:
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Bullet Item A Comparison of Enumeration Techniques for Cryptosporidium Parvum Oocysts
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