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Water Res. 2003 Nov;37(18):4425-32.

The effect of free chlorine on Burkholderia pseudomallei in potable water.

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Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Western Australian Centre for Pathology and Medical Research, Locked Bag 2009, WA 6909, Nedlands, Australia.


Chlorine is widely used in public water supplies to provide a disinfection barrier. The effect of chlorine disinfection on the water-borne pathogen Burkholderia pseudomallei was assessed using multiple techniques. After exposure to chlorine viable bacteria were undetectable by conventional plate count techniques; however, persistence of B. pseudomallei was verified by flow cytometry and bacteria were recoverable following a simple one-step broth procedure. The minimum residual chlorine concentration and contact time as prescribed by potable water providers in Australia was insufficient to reduce a B. pseudomallei population by more than 2 log(10). Chlorine had a bacteriostatic effect only on B. pseudomallei; viable bacteria were recovered from water containing up to 1000 ppm free chlorine. This finding has practical implications for water treatment in regions where B. pseudomallei is endemic. Future work to assess the effect of alternative water disinfection processes either singly or in sequence is necessary.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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