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Evaluation of the novel substrate RUG™ for the detection of Escherichia coli in water from temperate (Zurich, Switzerland) and tropical (Bushenyi, Uganda) field sites

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Abstract

Direct testing of water quality to promote drinking water safety contributes to the sustainable development goals, which call for universal access to safely-managed drinking water services by 2030. Enzyme–substrate tests offer a potentially simple and reliable approach for the detection and quantification of fecal indicator bacteria, including Escherichia coli (E. coli). The novel aquatest (AT) based on resorufin-β-D-glucuronide methyl ester (RUG™) (AT-RUG) is an enzyme–substrate test that overcomes several drawbacks of other established tests. In this study, AT-RUG was used to detect and quantify E. coli in water from temperate (Zurich, Switzerland) and tropical (Bushenyi, Uganda) regions. Quantitative results of AT-RUG were compared with IDEXX Colilert-18® (C-18), m-TEC and m-ColiBlue24®. In temperate waters, AT-RUG was found to be as sensitive as m-TEC (97.0%) and C-18 (98.5%) and showed strong agreement with the reference methods. The false-positive rate for E. coli detection in temperate waters using AT-RUG was 6%. AT-RUG performed well at incubation temperatures of 37 °C and 45 °C, but not at 24 °C. In tropical waters, AT-RUG sensitivity was 94.1% compared to m-ColiBlue24®. AT-RUG detected significantly more E. coli than m-ColiBlue24®, suggesting it is a more conservative estimate. At both field sites, AT-RUG was able to effectively indicate categorical concentrations of E. coli in water samples indicating the level of risks of fecal contamination of water supplies. This study indicates that AT-RUG is a reliable and accurate medium for the detection and quantification of E. coli in temperate and tropical waters.

Graphical abstract: Evaluation of the novel substrate RUG™ for the detection of Escherichia coli in water from temperate (Zurich, Switzerland) and tropical (Bushenyi, Uganda) field sites

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Publication details

The article was received on 16 Feb 2019, accepted on 01 Apr 2019 and first published on 02 May 2019


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C9EW00138G
Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol., 2019, Advance Article
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    Evaluation of the novel substrate RUG™ for the detection of Escherichia coli in water from temperate (Zurich, Switzerland) and tropical (Bushenyi, Uganda) field sites

    F. Genter, S. J. Marks, G. Clair-Caliot, D. S. Mugume, R. B. Johnston, R. E. S. Bain and T. R. Julian, Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol., 2019, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C9EW00138G

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