An evaluation of the sanitary quality of the sand beaches of Azores archipelago was undertaken May-October 1994 and 1995. The samples were analysed for total and faecal coliforms, faecal enterococci, Clostridium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and fungi (keratinolytic, yeasts, potential pathogenic and allergic and/or environmental saprophytes). The results were evaluated according to a “Proposal Guideline for the Microbiological Quality of Sand”. The data showed good or satisfactory sanitary quality of the sand beaches. The results indicated that the faecal enterococci can be a better indicator organism than the total and faecal coliforms. The fungi could be used as indicator organisms. The application of the “Proposal” should complete the criteria used in the “Blue Flag” distinction for high environmental quality beaches.

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