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Speeding up E. coli detection
Date:1/14/2011

A simple, automated method of tracking E. coli uses a laser to detect and monitor the microbe in potentially contaminated bodies of water or waterways. The technique described this month in the International Journal of Computational Biology and Drug Design could reduce the incidence of waterborne disease outbreaks.

Microbial contamination of water is a worldwide environmental and health problem. Water related diseases are the leading causes of illness and death in the world. The impacts of water quality on public health and economy are highly significant as evidenced by waterborne disease outbreaks, boil water advisories, contamination of irrigation waters, and beach closures. Considerable government and private efforts have been made to improve and monitor water quality.

Beach managers need reliable methods to determine the origins of contaminants in order to reduce those sources and maintain a healthy beach. Sources of fecal contamination in recreational waters are often unknown and/or of non-point origins. Identifying and reducing the sources of fecal contamination for a particular beach is often hindered by the presence of multiple and diffuse sources, natural variability in bacterial indicator concentrations over space and time, and the dynamic currents, weather patterns, and natural processes that affect these concentrations.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), for example, has provided substantial funding support to coastal communities through the BEACH Act to increase the frequency of beach monitoring. Whereas beach monitoring for fecal bacterial indicators such as E. coli is necessary, knowing the source of bacterial contamination is fundamentally important for preventing microbial pollution in water. Simple counts of fecal indicator bacteria do not provide vital information regarding the source of microbial contamination. It is thus necessary to develop scientific techniques for mi
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Contact: Bin Chen
chen121@calumet.purdue.edu
Inderscience Publishers
Source:Eurekalert

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