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Fates of bacteriophages and bacterial indicators in the Moselle river (France)

Abstract : It has been suggested that bacteriophages can provide useful information about the pathogenic microorganisms, particularly enteric viruses, present in water. This information is complementary to that obtained from bacterial indicators of faecal contamination, which would be of great value for evaluating the risks associated with the use of certain types of water. Before bacteriophages can be used as indicators of faecal contamination, we need to confirm that bacteriophages give a different response to that given by the well-known bacteria indicators and to determine what happens to bacteriophages in river water. Indeed, drinking water is often produced from river water, either by natural filtration through the soil or after undergoing various treatments. We collected 96 river water samples from six different sites between February and November 2000. The samples were analysed for three faecal indicator bacteria (thermotolerant coliforms, enterococci and spores of sulphite-reducing anaerobes) and three types of bacteriophages (somatic coliphages, F-specific phages and Bacteroides fragilis phages). The densities of thermotolerant coliforms and enterococci depended mainly on physical factors such as flow rate and water temperature. High temperature and low flow rate led to a decrease in the density of these microorganisms, especially in the absence of a major input of faecal pollution. Conversely, the densities of somatic coliphages, F-specific phages and spores of sulphite-reducing anaerobes remained constant regardless of the flow rate and temperature. The density of Bacteroides fragilis phages was too low for unambiguous determination of their fate in river water.
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Submitted on : Monday, October 8, 2018 - 7:36:40 PM
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S Skraber, C. Gantzer, A. Maul, L. Schwartzbrod. Fates of bacteriophages and bacterial indicators in the Moselle river (France). Water Research, IWA Publishing, 2002, 36 (14), pp.3629 - 3637. ⟨10.1016/S0043-1354(02)00063-5⟩. ⟨hal-01890679⟩



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