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J Appl Bacteriol. 1994 Nov;77(5):476-83.

Differential elimination of enteric bacteria by protists in a freshwater system.

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Departamento de Inmunología, Microbiología y Parasitología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad del País Vasco, Bilbao, Spain.


The short-term (1 h) and long-term (3 d) elimination of low and high densities of five enteric bacteria, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Aeromonas hydrophila, Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis and Staphylococcus epidermidis, by flagellate and ciliate protists were measured in a freshwater system. In addition, the two processes, ingestion and digestion, which cause the disappearance of those enteric bacteria as time passes, were quantified. The results showed that the elimination of these enteric bacteria by protists depends on their initial density, which confirms that the lower the bacterial density the more difficult is their elimination. On the other hand, the short-term and long-term elimination rates of each enteric bacteria were different, and moreover, the order of priority for elimination in the two cases was not the same. Escherichia coli showed the highest elimination rate in short-term experiments, while Aer. hydrophila disappeared at highest rates in long-term experiments. This different order of priority in the elimination rates and the different digestion rates on the five enteric bacteria by phagotrophic protists indicated that the elimination in time is very much influenced by the digestive capacity on each enteric bacteria of those protists. Thus, the low digestion rates of Ent. faecalis and Staph. epidermidis by flagellates and ciliates as well as their low disappearance percentages in the long-term experiments confirm that enteric Gram-positive bacteria are eliminated from the aquatic systems at lower rates, because their digestion is difficult.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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