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Table 1

Methods for the detection of E. coli in drinking water

Detection methodPrinciplePerformance characteristics
Membrane filtration The water sample is filtered with a membrane filter to retain bacteria and then cultured on a selective medium. The detection of E. coli can be achieved by counting every single colony MF method is widely used for the detection of microorganisms in drinking water due to its relatively simple operation, but its detection rate of injured bacteria is relatively low or sometimes undetectable (Rompré et al. 2002; Liu et al. 2015) 
Multi-tube fermentation E. coli can ferment lactose to produce acid and gas. The existence of coliform bacteria can be determined through the primary fermentation test, plate separation, and secondary fermentation test MTF method lacks precision in both qualitative and quantitative aspects and often takes a long time. It is better than the MF method when testing turbid or colored water. The MTF method can effectively detect chlorine-injured bacteria (Rompré et al. 2002; Liu et al. 2015) 
Enzyme substrate The specific enzymes present in microorganisms can be used to detect E. coli. The detection or counting method can be performed in a single medium without time-consuming separation processes Detection of E. coli can be carried out by an immobilized enzyme substrate method, which has the advantages of rapid and high specificity. However, it performs poorly in the detection of disinfectant-injured bacteria, because the method has limited ability to promote cell repair (Li et al. 2017) 
Detection methodPrinciplePerformance characteristics
Membrane filtration The water sample is filtered with a membrane filter to retain bacteria and then cultured on a selective medium. The detection of E. coli can be achieved by counting every single colony MF method is widely used for the detection of microorganisms in drinking water due to its relatively simple operation, but its detection rate of injured bacteria is relatively low or sometimes undetectable (Rompré et al. 2002; Liu et al. 2015) 
Multi-tube fermentation E. coli can ferment lactose to produce acid and gas. The existence of coliform bacteria can be determined through the primary fermentation test, plate separation, and secondary fermentation test MTF method lacks precision in both qualitative and quantitative aspects and often takes a long time. It is better than the MF method when testing turbid or colored water. The MTF method can effectively detect chlorine-injured bacteria (Rompré et al. 2002; Liu et al. 2015) 
Enzyme substrate The specific enzymes present in microorganisms can be used to detect E. coli. The detection or counting method can be performed in a single medium without time-consuming separation processes Detection of E. coli can be carried out by an immobilized enzyme substrate method, which has the advantages of rapid and high specificity. However, it performs poorly in the detection of disinfectant-injured bacteria, because the method has limited ability to promote cell repair (Li et al. 2017) 
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