African Journal of Parasitology Research

African Journal of Parasitology Research ISSN 2756-3391 Vol. 8 (1), pp. 001-015, January, 2021. © International Scholars Journals

Full Length Research Paper

Investigation into the microbial contamination in a spring water distribution system, Western Cape, South Africa

Latiefa Behardien1, Arnelia Paulse2, Vanessa Jackson2, Sehaam Khan2 and Wesaal Khan3*

1Department of Food Technology, Faculty of Applied Science, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, 8000, South Africa.

2Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences,

Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Bellville, 7535, South Africa.

3Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Faculty of Applied Science, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, 8000, South Africa.

Accepted 15 October, 2020

Abstract

The microbial contamination in a spring water distribution system in the Western Cape, South Africa was investigated. Sampling at various points from the spring and throughout the bottling system started in February and continued until November 2004. The number of culturable cells was determined using the heterotrophic plate count (HPC) and total microbial counts were evaluated by flow cytometric analysis (FCM). Heterotrophic plate counts in the final bottled water ranged from 1.34 x 108 cfu/ml (week 1)   to 5 x 104 cfu/ml (week 46). In comparison, the total cell counts (FCM) ranged from 2.09 x 108 microorganisms/ml (week 1) to 5.70 x 107 microorganisms/ml (week 46).The higher FCM counts indicated that the flow cytometry technique was able to detect viable but non-culturable organisms in the water and was thus more reliable for the routine quantitative enumeration of microbial populations in water samples. 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid (rRNA) of the bacterial species present was amplified with PCR and phylogenetic trees were constructed using the neighbour-joining algorithm. The sequenced isolates from the various water samples belonged to the major groups Bacillus sp, and Enterobacteriaceae and included Shigella boydii, Serratia sp., Enterobacter asburiae and Pseudomonas sp.

Key words: Bacterial contamination, flow cytometry, heterotrophic plate count, molecular typing, spring water distribution system.