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A Pilot Study to Compare Microbial and Chemical Indicators of Human Fecal Contamination in Water

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Abstract:Limitations exist in applying traditional microbial methods for the detection of human fecal contamination of water. A pilot study was undertaken to compare the microbial and chemical indicators of human fecal contamination of water. Sixty-four water samples were collected in Ohio in June-August 2000. Solid-phased extraction (SPE) was performed to preconcentrate cafffeine and urobilin using 100-200 ml of each water samples followed by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with photodiode array and fluorescence detection methods to simultaneously detect caffeine and urobilin. Enterococci, total coliform (TC), and Escherichia coli (E. coli) were performed on each sample using standard procedures. Caffeine was detected in 33% (21/64) of samples and urobilin in 5% (3/64) of samples. Caffeine level and the presence of E. coli showed strong correlation (r=0.98), whereas enterococci and total coliform levels were poorly correlated with caffeine (r=.022 and -0.01, respectively). This study demonstrated a need for further investigation of the feasibility of using caffeine, a chemical by-product of human activities, as an alternate marker of human fecal contamination in water.
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Citation:De La Cruz, A. A., J. W. Messer, C. C. Rankin, and G. N. Stelma Jr. A Pilot Study to Compare Microbial and Chemical Indicators of Human Fecal Contamination in Water. Presented at American Society for Microbiology 101st General Meeting, Orlando, FL, May 20-24, 2001.
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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: Microbial Exposure Research Branch
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Product Type: Abstrct/Oral
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Presented: 05/20/2001
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Related Entries:
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Bullet Item Immunological and Biosensor Techniques for Detecting Non-Microbial Indicators of Human Fecal Pollution
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Last Updated on Monday, October 22, 2007
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