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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2013 Jul;79(13):4094-105. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00777-13. Epub 2013 Apr 26.

Predicting Salmonella populations from biological, chemical, and physical indicators in Florida surface waters.

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Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Citrus Research and Education Center, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Lake Alfred, FL, USA.


Coliforms, Escherichia coli, and various physicochemical water characteristics have been suggested as indicators of microbial water quality or index organisms for pathogen populations. The relationship between the presence and/or concentration of Salmonella and biological, physical, or chemical indicators in Central Florida surface water samples over 12 consecutive months was explored. Samples were taken monthly for 12 months from 18 locations throughout Central Florida (n = 202). Air and water temperature, pH, oxidation-reduction potential (ORP), turbidity, and conductivity were measured. Weather data were obtained from nearby weather stations. Aerobic plate counts and most probable numbers (MPN) for Salmonella, E. coli, and coliforms were performed. Weak linear relationships existed between biological indicators (E. coli/coliforms) and Salmonella levels (R(2) < 0.1) and between physicochemical indicators and Salmonella levels (R(2) < 0.1). The average rainfall (previous day, week, and month) before sampling did not correlate well with bacterial levels. Logistic regression analysis showed that E. coli concentration can predict the probability of enumerating selected Salmonella levels. The lack of good correlations between biological indicators and Salmonella levels and between physicochemical indicators and Salmonella levels shows that the relationship between pathogens and indicators is complex. However, Escherichia coli provides a reasonable way to predict Salmonella levels in Central Florida surface water through logistic regression.

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