Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

E. coli can survive in streambed sediments for months

Date:
July 12, 2011
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Scientists have confirmed that the presence of Escherichia coli pathogens in surface waters could result from the pathogen's ability to survive for months in underwater sediments.

ARS researchers have discovered that E. coli pathogens can survive for months in underwater sediments, which could improve computer modeling for the bacterial contamination of surface waters.
Credit: NRCS-USDA

Studies by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have confirmed that the presence of Escherichia coli pathogens in surface waters could result from the pathogen's ability to survive for months in underwater sediments. Most E. coli strains don't cause illness, but they are indicator organisms used by water quality managers to estimate fecal contamination.

Related Articles


These findings, which can help pinpoint potential sources of water contamination, support the USDA priorities of promoting sustainable agriculture and food safety.

Soil scientist Yakov Pachepsky works at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Environmental Microbial and Food Safety Laboratory in Beltsville, Md. He is conducting studies to learn more about where the E. coli pathogens in streambeds come from, where they end up, and how long they can survive. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.

Lab studies conducted by Pachepsky and his colleagues suggested that non-pathogenic strains of E. coli can survive much longer in underwater sediments than in the water column itself, and provided the first published evidence that E. coli can overwinter in the sediment.

The results also indicated that the pathogens lived longer when levels of organic carbon and fine sediment particles in the sediment were higher. In addition, when organic carbon levels were higher, water temperatures were less likely to affect the pathogens' survival rates.

The researchers also collected three years of data on stream flow, weather, and E. coli levels in water and sediments from a stream in Pennsylvania that was fed by several smaller tributaries. Then they used the information to calibrate the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), a model developed by ARS scientists that predicts how farming practices affect water quality on watershed scale.

The resulting simulations indicated pasture runoff contributed to E. coli levels in nearby streams only during temporary interludes of high-water flows. Since the SWAT model currently does not include data on E. coli levels in streambed sediments, this research indicates that SWAT simulations would overestimate how much E. coli contamination in surface waters is due to pasture runoff.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "E. coli can survive in streambed sediments for months." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110701121619.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2011, July 12). E. coli can survive in streambed sediments for months. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110701121619.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "E. coli can survive in streambed sediments for months." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110701121619.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) You've probably seen some weird-looking dinosaurs, but have you ever seen one this weird? It's worth a look. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins