Navigation Links
E. coli can survive in streambed sediments for months

This release is available in Spanish.

Studies by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have confirmed that the presence of Escherichia coli pathogens in surface waters could result from the pathogen's ability to survive for months in underwater sediments. Most E. coli strains don't cause illness, but they are indicator organisms used by water quality managers to estimate fecal contamination.

These findings, which can help pinpoint potential sources of water contamination, support the USDA priorities of promoting sustainable agriculture and food safety.

Soil scientist Yakov Pachepsky works at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Environmental Microbial and Food Safety Laboratory in Beltsville, Md. He is conducting studies to learn more about where the E. coli pathogens in streambeds come from, where they end up, and how long they can survive. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.

Lab studies conducted by Pachepsky and his colleagues suggested that non-pathogenic strains of E. coli can survive much longer in underwater sediments than in the water column itself, and provided the first published evidence that E. coli can overwinter in the sediment.

The results also indicated that the pathogens lived longer when levels of organic carbon and fine sediment particles in the sediment were higher. In addition, when organic carbon levels were higher, water temperatures were less likely to affect the pathogens' survival rates.

The researchers also collected three years of data on stream flow, weather, and E. coli levels in water and sediments from a stream in Pennsylvania that was fed by several smaller tributaries. Then they used the information to calibrate the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), a model developed by ARS scientists that predicts how farming practices affect water quality on watershed scale.

The resulting simulations indicated pasture runoff contributed to E. coli levels in nearby streams only during temporary interludes of high-water flows. Since the SWAT model currently does not include data on E. coli levels in streambed sediments, this research indicates that SWAT simulations would overestimate how much E. coli contamination in surface waters is due to pasture runoff.

Results from this work were published in Water Research, Ecological Modeling, Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology, and Journal of Hydrology.


Contact: Ann Perry
United States Department of Agriculture - Research, Education and Economics

Related biology news :

1. Will the eel survive its management?
2. Mass extinction victim survives! Snail long thought extinct, isnt
3. Recent census in war-torn DR Congo finds gorillas have survived, even increased
4. Circadian rhythms spark plants ability to survive freezing weather
5. Some populations of Fraser River salmon more likely to survive climate change: UBC study
6. Research shows not only the fittest survive
7. Flood-tolerant rice plants can also survive drought, say UC Riverside scientists
8. Parasitic protozoons survive waste water and drinking water treatment plants in Galicia
9. Plants can adapt genetically to survive harsh environments
10. Test shows dinosaurs survived mass extinction by 700,000 years
11. Scientists uncover process enabling toxoplasmosis parasite to survive homelessness
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/8/2015)... , 8. Oktober 2015 Die ... tätiges Unternehmen des Bereiches Tracking, hat heute ... der Gefängnisbehörde Virginias (Department of Corrections – ... Überwachungsdienste für alle Strafen geliefert werden, die ... , Präsident für den Amerikanischen Kontinent der ...
(Date:10/7/2015)... Connecticut , October 7, 2015 ... authentication company focused on the growing mobile commerce market ... Stanley E. Washington , former long- term executive ... of Directors. --> NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or ... growing mobile commerce market and creator of the Wocket® ...
(Date:10/5/2015)... ) releases ... (NASDAQ: NXTD ), a biometric authentication company focused ... ) releases the following market and ... a biometric authentication company focused on the growing mobile ... ) releases the following market and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)... Mass. and TORONTO , Oct. ... GNBT) today announced that it has entered into a non-binding ... ), a private Israeli company that has developed a proprietary ... infertile due to varicoceles. the United States ... between the ages of 25 and 44 diagnosed ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... Proove ... to announce their partnership with the Keck Medicine of the University of ... , The T.R.O.J.A.N. Study (Therapeutic Evaluation to Research Clinical Objectives Linking Genotypic and ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... ... Spirax Sarco, the leader in products and services for steam system solutions ... generator . This unit is a skid mounted system that is designed to ... The CMS-C 600 generator can produce up to a maximum of 1,275 lb./hr. ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... , October 12, 2015 cell surface ... billion by 2022, according to a new report by Grand ... to rise in incidence of oncology diseases and other cell-associated ... is expected to reach USD 6.49 billion by 2022, according ... growth in demand can be attributed to rise in incidence ...
Breaking Biology Technology: