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Appl Environ Microbiol. Aug 1993; 59(8): 2418–2424.
PMCID: PMC182300

Clostridium perfringens and somatic coliphages as indicators of the efficiency of drinking water treatment for viruses and protozoan cysts.


To find the most suitable indicator of viral and parasitic contamination of drinking water, large-volume samples were collected and analyzed for the presence of pathogens (cultivable human enteric viruses, Giardia lamblia cysts, and Cryptosporidium oocysts) and potential indicators (somatic and male-specific coliphages, Clostridium perfringens). The samples were obtained from three water treatment plants by using conventional or better treatments (ozonation, biological filtration). All samples of river water contained the microorganisms sought, and only C. perfringens counts were correlated with human enteric viruses, cysts, or oocysts. For settled and filtered water samples, all indicators were statistically correlated with human enteric viruses but not with cysts or oocysts. By using multiple regression, the somatic coliphage counts were the only explanatory variable for the human enteric virus counts in settled water, while in filtered water samples it was C. perfringens counts. Finished water samples of 1,000 liters each were free of all microorganisms, except for a single sample that contained low levels of cysts and oocysts of undetermined viability. Three of nine finished water samples of 20,000 liters each revealed residual levels of somatic coliphages at 0.03, 0.10, and 0.26 per 100 liters. Measured virus removal was more than 4 to 5 log10, and cyst removal was more than 4 log10. Coliphage and C. perfringens counts suggested that the total removal and inactivation was more than 7 log10 viable microorganisms. C. perfringens counts appear to be the most suitable indicator for the inactivation and removal of viruses in drinking water treatment.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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Selected References

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