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Detecting pathogens in waterways: An improved approach
Date:2/8/2011

nku Endale and Dwight Fisher at Watkinsville combined techniques previously developed to assess water quality and detect pathogens in laboratory settings: a water filtration technique to concentrate the pathogens; a special medium for growing and measuring the number of pathogenic cells; a biochemical testing process; and PCR technology.

They collected water samples from a pond at the Watkinsville site, ran them through a special filter, removed the filter contents and used a centrifuge to spin the filtered contents into a pellet form. They used the suspended pellets to develop cell cultures, confirmed their identity with a genetic method, and determined the concentration found in the original samples.

Their results, published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, showed the process can be used to detect just a few cells of pathogenic E. coli and Salmonella in a 10-liter water sample, lower levels than any previously detected. Because the system involves collecting cell cultures, it also may lead to developing culture collections that-like a fingerprint database-could be used to identify bacterial strains that are potential sources of future outbreaks.


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Contact: Dennis O'Brien
dennis.obrien@ars.usda.gov
301-504-1624
United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics
Source:Eurekalert

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