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Issue 11, 2012
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Comparative analysis of classical and molecular microbiology methods for the detection of Escherichia coli and Enterococcus spp. in well water

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Abstract

The microbiological quality of 165 1 litre well water samples collected in the Québec City region was assessed by culture-based methods (mFC agar, Chromocult coliform agar, Colilert®, MI agar, Chromocult enterococci, Enterolert™, and mEI agar) and by a molecular microbiology strategy, dubbed CRENAME-rtPCR, developed for the detection of Escherichia coli, Enterococcus spp., Enterococcus faecalis/faecium, and Bacillus atrophaeus subsp. globigii. In these drinking water samples, approved culture-based methods detected E. coli at rates varying from 1.8 to 3.6% and Enterococcus spp. at rates varying from 3.0 to 11.5%, while the molecular microbiology approach for E. coli was found to be as efficient, detecting contamination in 3.0% of samples. In contrast, CRENAME-rtPCR detected Enterococcus spp. in 27.9% of samples while the E. faecalis/faecium molecular assay did not uncover a single contaminated sample, thereby revealing a discrepancy in the coverage of waterborne enterococcal species detected by classical and molecular microbiology methods. The validation of the CRENAME-E. coli rtPCR test as a new tool to assess the quality of drinking water will require larger scale studies elaborated to demonstrate its equivalence to approved methods.

Graphical abstract: Comparative analysis of classical and molecular microbiology methods for the detection of Escherichia coli and Enterococcus spp. in well water

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Publication details

The article was received on 11 Jul 2012, accepted on 30 Aug 2012 and first published on 27 Sep 2012


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM30565H
Citation: J. Environ. Monit., 2012,14, 2983-2989
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    Comparative analysis of classical and molecular microbiology methods for the detection of Escherichia coli and Enterococcus spp. in well water

    A. F. Maheux, V. Huppé, L. Bissonnette, M. Boissinot, L. Rodrigue, È. Bérubé and M. G. Bergeron, J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 2983
    DOI: 10.1039/C2EM30565H

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