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Water Science & Technology Vol 54 No 3 pp 169–175 © IWA Publishing 2006 doi:10.2166/wst.2006.465

Comparative stability and growth requirements of S. aureus and faecal indicator bacteria in seawater

R.S. Fujioka and T.M. Unutoa

Water Resources Research Center, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, , HI, 96822 USA


The fate (stability, multiplication) of S. aureus, E. coli and E. faecalis was determined in three classes of recreational waters (seawater, estuarine, stream) supplemented with nutrients in the form of sewage and peptone. In the absence of sunlight (24±2 °C), all bacteria in all water samples did not multiply and were slowly (days) inactivated. When 50% sewage was added to all water samples, E. coli and E. faecalis multiplied but S. aureus did not. When peptone (0.05%, 0.5%) was the added nutrient, the three bacteria multiplied. In the presence of sunlight (15–27 °C), S. aureus was inactivated rapidly (hours) in all water samples. These results show that when their nutritional requirements are met, S. aureus, E. coli and E. faecalis can multiply in the high salinity conditions of seawater. However, under environmental conditions, sunlight is an effective natural bactericidal agent.

Keywords: E. coli; E. faecalis; multiplication; S. aureus; seawater; survival

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