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Lett Appl Microbiol. 2019 Dec;69(6):431-437. doi: 10.1111/lam.13235. Epub 2019 Nov 8.

Occurrence of total coliforms, Escherichia coli and Cronobacter species in commercially available 20 l bottled drinking water sold in Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil.

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Laboratory of Microbiology of Food and Sanitizes, INCQS/Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
2, Adams Hill, Keyworth, Nottinghamshire, UK.
Laboratory of Microbiology Control, Bio-Manguinhos/Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Cronobacter infections of infants are commonly regarded as due to the ingestion of contaminated feed. The aim of this study was to determine the occurrence of Cronobacter, total coliforms and Escherichia coli in different brands of natural mineral waters as sold in 20 l returnable bottles in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The quantification of total coliforms and E. coli was performed by Most Probable Number. The detection of Cronobacter was as according to the ISO 22964:2017 and Bacteriological Analytical Manual/FDA. Molecular characterization of Cronobacter isolates was performed by real-time PCR and by multi-locus sequence typing. The antibiotic susceptibility profile was determined and biofilm production was evaluated in polystyrene microplates. Total coliforms and E. coli were detected in 13 (39·4%) and 2 (6·1%) of the 33 lots analysed respectively, and were considered unsatisfactory for human consumption according to Brazilian law. One (3·0%) lot showed contamination by C. malonaticus ST440 (Cronobacter MLST Databases accession no. ID 2646). The strain was susceptible to all (n = 13) antibiotics tested and only formed a weak biofilm. Since there is a high consumption of natural mineral waters by elderly and immunosuppressed persons, epidemiological surveillance agencies should be aware of the risk that these waters may represent for these groups. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: Cronobacter malonaticus ST440 was isolated from 20 l bottled drinking natural mineral waters sold in markets in Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, and can be a potential threat to human health, particularly for neonates. Thirteen lots (39·4%) were unsatisfactory for human consumption due to the presence of total coliforms and/or Escherichia coli.


Cronobacter ; antimicrobials; biofilms; natural mineral water; water quality

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