ASTM WK46385

    Revision of D5465 - 93(2012) Standard Practice for Determining Microbial Colony Counts from Waters Analyzed by Plating Methods

    (What is a Work Item?)

    Active Standard: D5465 - 93(2012)

    Developed by Subcommittee: D19.24 | Committee D19 | Contact Staff Manager


    1. Rationale

    The current definition of colony forming unit (CFU) is inaccurate and misleading. The current definition implies that a given culture test protocol will detect all bacteria present in a sample. More than 25 years ago, Roszak and Colwell debunked this conceit. (Roszak, D. B., and Colwell, R. R., Survival Strategies of Bacteria in the Natural Environment, Microbiological Reviews, Vol 51, No. 3, Sept. 1987, pp. 365379.) Subsequently a substantial body of literature about the vast difference between culturability (under a given set of growth conditions) and viability has grown. Any definition of CFU must include consideration of this difference. It must also indicate that the term applies to algae and fungi as well as bacteria. None of the definitions currently provided in Standards under the jurisdiction of D19, E54 or F04 meet all of these criteria.


    calculating results; counting colonies; membrane filter methods; pour plate methods; reporting results; rounding off; significant figures; spread plate methods; verification of counts;
    Citing ASTM Standards
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    Work Item Status

    Date Initiated:

    Technical Contact:
    Frederick Passman


    D19 (15-02)

    Negative Votes Need Resolution