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Multistate Evaluation of an Ultrafiltration-Based Procedure for Simultaneous Recovery of Enteric Microbes in 100-Liter Tap Water Samples

Hill, Vincent R., Kahler, Amy M., Jothikumar, Narayanan, Johnson, Trisha B., Hahn, Donghyun, Cromeans, Theresa L.
Applied and environmental microbiology 2007 v.73 no.13 pp. 4218-4225
Clostridium perfringens, Cryptosporidium parvum, Enterococcus faecalis, bacteria, bacteriophages, cities, immunomagnetic separation, oocysts, parasites, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, spores, tap water, ultrafiltration, wastewater, water quality, United States
Ultrafiltration (UF) is increasingly being recognized as a potentially effective procedure for concentrating and recovering microbes from large volumes of water and treated wastewater. Because of their very small pore sizes, UF membranes are capable of simultaneously concentrating viruses, bacteria, and parasites based on size exclusion. In this study, a UF-based water sampling procedure was used to simultaneously recover representatives of these three microbial classes seeded into 100-liter samples of tap water collected from eight cities covering six hydrologic areas of the United States. The UF-based procedure included hollow-fiber UF as the primary step for concentrating microbes and then used membrane filtration for bacterial culture assays, immunomagnetic separation for parasite recovery and quantification, and centrifugal UF for secondary concentration of viruses. Water samples were tested for nine water quality parameters to investigate whether water quality data correlated with measured recovery efficiencies and molecular detection levels. Average total method recovery efficiencies were 71, 97, 120, 110, and 91% for φX174 bacteriophage, MS2 bacteriophage, Enterococcus faecalis, Clostridium perfringens spores, and Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts, respectively. Real-time PCR and reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) for seeded microbes and controls indicated that tap water quality could affect the analytical performance of molecular amplification assays, although no specific water quality parameter was found to correlate with reduced PCR or RT-PCR performance.