2009 Student Research Conference:
22nd Annual Student Research Conference

Examination of E. coli Survival in Fresh Water Streams
Chase A. Gray* and Jacob B. Sanning
Dr. Cynthia Cooper, Faculty Mentor

Escherichia coli bacteria are essential to human health and commonly found in digestive tracts of warm-blooded animals. Consequently, E. coli are widely accepted as an indicator of fecal contamination. We examined how long environmental samples of E. coli survive in stream water and sediment held under laboratory conditions. The better adapted E. coli becomes to the environment, the less reliable it is as an indicator of fecal contamination. The study included two sites on Bear Creek in Adair Co. and five sites on the Fabius River in Schuyler and Scotland counties. Streams were simulated in lab using sediment and water from the sites. E. coli levels were monitored using MI agar in conformation with USEPA Method 1604. Our study showed that E. coli survived in the sediment simulation for 144 hours. Additional studies are needed to determine exactly how long various strains of E. coli can survive in the environment.

Keywords:  E. coli, Fecal contamination, Local streams


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 59-3
Location: VH 1408
Time: 3:15

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