Spatial and temporal variability among enteric pathogens and fecal indicator bacteria in a tidally mixed estuary in southeast Georgia, USA
Griffith, Monica Lynne
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This study sought to evaluate the role of season, location and biotic reservoirs in detection rates of fecal indicator bacteria and human pathogens in shellfish harvesting waters of Georgia. A total of 118 samples were collected from twelve stations over a period of two years. Water quality parameters including pH, salinity, temperature, and dissolved oxygen were measured and water and plankton samples from each station subjected to microbial analysis for fecal coliforms and enterococci. The levels of enteroviruses in the plankton samples were assessed using RT-nested PCR techniques. Fecal coliform bacteria often exceeded standards of ≤ 14 CFU/100 ml for shellfish harvesting waters. Human enteroviruses were detected throughout the year in these areas as well. When fractions were compared, there was significant partitioning of indicator bacteria between the water and plankton fractions, with lowest levels of both enterococci and fecal coliform bacteria in water and highest in the plankton fractions.