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Keywords:

  • Cladophora;
  • Environmental condition;
  • Escherichia coli;
  • Enterococci;
  • Great Lakes

Abstract

The macro-alga Cladophora glomerata is found in streams and lakes worldwide. High concentrations of Escherichia coli and enterococci have been reported in Cladophora along the Lake Michigan shore. The objective of this study was to determine if Cladophora supported growth of these indicator bacteria. Algal leachate readily supported in vitro multiplication of E. coli and enterococci, suggesting that leachates contain necessary growth-promoting substances. Growth was directly related to the concentration of algal leachate. E. coli survived for over 6 months in dried Cladophora stored at 4°C; residual E. coli grew after mat rehydration, reaching a carrying capacity of 8 log CFU g−1 in 48 h. Results of this study also show that the E. coli strains associated with Cladophora are highly related; in most instances they are genetically different from each other, suggesting that the relationship between E. coli and Cladophora may be casual. These findings indicate that Cladophora provides a suitable environment for indicator bacteria to persist for extended periods and to grow under natural conditions.