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Keywords:

  • fecal coliforms;
  • microbial indicators;
  • total coliforms;
  • waterborne enteric viruses

Abstract

Three hundred and thirty-nine water samples obtained from 90 locations in Korea from 2007 to 2011 were tested for the presence of enteric viruses (EV), total coliforms (TC), and fecal coliforms (FC). A total culturable virus assay revealed that 89 samples (26.3%) were positive for EVs, the average concentration being 5.8 most probable number (MPN)/100 L. The Han river basin exhibited the highest contamination by EVs (occurrence, 41.3%; average concentration, 24.0 MPN/100 L). EV contamination was found more frequently in river water (occurrence, 33.6%; concentration, 8.4 MPN/100 L) than in lake water or groundwater. The concentration of EVs was highest in spring (7.7 MPN/100 L), whereas it was found most frequently in winter (36.1%). The number of TCs ranged from 0 – 1.2 × 105 colony forming units (CFU)/100 mL and that of FCs from 0–6.2 × 103 CFU/100 mL per sample. Statistical analyses showed that the presence of EVs, TCs and FCs did not correlate significantly with temperature or turbidity. In addition, presence of TCs and FCs was not significantly correlated with presence of EVs. In conclusion, TCs and FCs may not be accurate microbial indicators of waterborne EVs in Korean aquatic environments.