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Environ Sci Technol. 2011 Mar 1;45(5):1853-8. doi: 10.1021/es1032019. Epub 2011 Feb 9.

Comparative die-off of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and fecal indicator bacteria in pond water.

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USDA Agriculture Research Service, J Phil Campbell, Sr Natural Resource Conservation Center, Watkinsville, Georgia 30677, USA.


In situ and in vitro experiments were performed to assess the effects of solar radiation and predation by indigenous microflora on the relative die-off rates of a toxigenic strain of Escherichia coli O157:H7, commensal E. coli, and fecal enterococci in surface waters from ponds in agricultural watersheds. The objective of these experiments was to discern a mechanism of persistence of E. coli O157:H7 in surface waters compared to fecal indicator bacteria. Results of these experiments indicated that E. coli and fecal enterococci were affected by both insolation and apparent predation; whereas E. coli O157:H7 appeared to be resistant to both of these environmental stressors. The number of days to reach 99% die-off (T(99)-values) for E. coli O157:H7 was significantly greater than that for the indicator bacteria. The capacity to prolong die-off may be connected to the apparent persistence of E. coli O157:H7 in surface waters.

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