In order to improve bacterial water quality of shellfish farming areas, studies were conducted in the English Channel (Morlaix) and on the Mediterranean coast (Toulon). These two areas were chosen in order to compare behaviour of fecal bacteria in two different ecosystems. In the estuary of Morlaix sediments are polluted by way of settlement, but most of the bacteria are mixed with turbid waters and are able to survive a very long time (T90 are in a range of several hours to several days). By measuring the increase in salt tolerance of the strains grown in natural organic matter, it was demonstrated that Salmonella can tolerate coastal water salinities. Moreover, because light penetration is prevented by suspended matter, the solar bactericidal effect is very low. On the contrary, through lack of nutrients and very high sunlight intensity, die-off rates in Mediterranean waters are very high (at the surface T90 are less than 2 hours, and several hours in deep waters). A close relationship was found between the light intensity received by bacteria and the T90. Predicted T90 must be found using these two parameters(including turbidity and deep effect on light intensity). The authors suggest that precautions must be taken to carry out impact studies depending on water quality of the area, especially in turbid areas. The knowledge of these mechanisms is very important to evaluate waste water impact on the quality of shellfish farming areas, and to improve elimination of fccal bacteria in sewage treatment plants.

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