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Water Res. 2003 Jul;37(12):2865-74.

Simultaneous effects of environmental factors on motile Aeromonas dynamics in an urban effluent and in the natural seawater.

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Departement de Biologie, Faculté des Sciences de Sfax, Route Sokra, km 3.5 BP 802.3018, Sfax, Tunisia.


Seasonal dynamics of motile Aeromonas in a treated urban effluent and in natural seawater along the Sfax coast (Mediterranean sea, Tunisia) were measured over a year concurrently with seven environmental factors, and compared with those of faecal coliforms. Counts for Aeromonas from a standard plate count method, ranged from 1.48 x 10(5)CFU.100 ml(-1) to 2.2 x 10(8)CFU.100 ml(-1) in the effluent and from 7.9 x 10(3)CFU.100 ml(-1) to undetectable level in the surface marine waters. Contrary to faecal coliforms, the Aeromonas dynamics exhibited a seasonal distribution in seawater which was inverse of the seasonal distribution in the sewage: From the end of November 1998 to April 1999 (cold period), Aeromonas counts increased in the treated effluent, while it decreased very rapidly in seawater. From May to October (warm period), Aeromonas abundance decreased in the effluent but showed an increasing fluctuating trend in the marine waters with a maximum in late summer/early autumn when the temperatures were around 22-23 degrees C. Multiple correlation and regression analyses suggest, by the coefficient of determination (R(2)), that 42% of variance in Aeromonas number changes in the treated effluent, may be explained by only turbidity, radiation and Aeromonas density in the previous sample, while 37% of variance in marine ecosystem were explained by radiance and conductivity. Furthermore, the t statistics and their p values and the coefficient of partial determination (r(2)) indicated that radiance contributed the most (r(2)=0.3184, t=-3.2, p=0.0041) to the dynamics of motile Aeromonas in seawater, when combined with conductivity. The models relevant for changes in faecal coliforms abundance incorporated turbidity, radiance in the effluent and conductivity, pH, radiance, turbidity in coastal marine environment. These models explain 66% and 73% of the observed cell number fluctuation, with turbidity (r(2)=0.529, t=5.08, p=0.0001) and conductivity (r(2)=0.5407, t=4.97, p=0.0001) as dominant factors in the multivariate model proposed, respectively, for the two sampling sites. The results presented here suggest that the combination of negative effects of sunlight and conductivity in natural seawater mainly affects the colony-forming capacity and make the motile Aeromonas nonrecoverable during cold months.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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