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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1991 Mar;57(3):875-8.

Viable but nonculturable bacteria in drinking water.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, University of Maryland, College Park 20754.


Klebsiella pneumoniae, Enterobacter aerogenes, Agrobacterium tumefaciens, Streptococcus faecalis, Micrococcus flavus, Bacillus subtilis, and Pseudomonas strains L2 and 719 were tested for the ability to grow and maintain viability in drinking water. Microcosms were employed in the study to monitor growth and survival by plate counts, acridine orange direct counts (AODC), and direct viable counts (DVC). Plate counts dropped below the detection limit within 7 days for all strains except those of Bacillus and Pseudomonas. In all cases, the AODC did not change. The DVC also did not change except that the DVC, on average, were ca. 10-fold lower than the AODC.

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