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J Appl Bacteriol. 1993 Feb;74(2):215-21.

The colonization of solid PVC surfaces and the acquisition of resistance to germicides by water micro-organisms.

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Nosocomial Infections Laboratory Branch, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA 30333.


Six common water bacteria were examined for their ability to colonize polyvinyl chloride (PVC) surfaces, survive various germicidal treatment, and re-establish themselves in sterile distilled water (SDW). For each test, two 30.4 cm PVC pipes attached to a 90 degrees PVC elbow were filled with 600 ml of distilled water inoculated with either Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Ps. cepacia, Ps. mesophilica, Acinetobacter anitratus, Mycobacterium chelonae or M. chelonae var. abscessus. After 8 weeks contaminated water was removed and the pipes were exposed to 600 ml of 1:213 iodophor disinfectant (ID), 1:128 phenolic detergent (P), 1:256 quaternary ammonium compound (QA), stock iodophor antiseptic (IA), 2% formaldehyde (F), 10-15 ppm free chlorine (C), 2% glutaraldehyde (G) and 70% ethanol (E). These germicides were periodically sampled, neutralized and examined for surviving organisms. After exposure for 7 d the germicides were removed and each pipe was refilled with SDW. This was assayed at 7 d intervals to determine microbial re-establishment. Samples were removed during microbial conditioning and examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Pseudomonads were isolated directly from ID, QA, C, P and F, and mycobacteria from QA, IA, ID, P, G, C and F. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Ps. cepacia survived in PVC pipes after 7 d of exposure to P, ID and C; Ps. mesophilica, after C and ID; and both mycobacteria, after C. SEM examination of PVC remnants revealed bacterial attachment and formation of extracellular material with embedded cells. These studies show that common water bacteria can attach and colonize the interior surface of PVC pipes and develop significant resistance to the action of certain germicides.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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