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The potential value of bifidobacteria as indicators of fecal pollution in water has not been fully explored. Nevertheless, a number of workers have suggested that bifidobacteria may be useful as indicator Organisms because (a) they do not multiply in nature, (b) they exhibit survival characteristics which compare favorably to Escherichia coli, and (c) they may be useful as specific indicator organisms to differentiate animal from human fecal pollution.
An identification scheme for the most common species and which may be applicable in determining the type of pollution has been developed, and current techniques of speciation and quantitation are discussed.
bacteria, water, health, indicator bacteria, pathogenic bacteria, bifidobacteria
Microbiologist, Marine Field Station, Health Effects Research Laboratory-Cin., U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, West Kingston, R.I.