This study compared a chromogenic and fluorogenic substrate based medium, Colisure, with the conventional fermentation based medium, lauryl tryptose broth (LTB), for the recovery of chlorine-injured and non-injured coliforms and E. coli. Mixed natural populations of coliforms from sewage, with and without chlorine exposure, and untreated surface water samples were examined following a USEPA established procedure. Colisure and LTB were examined after 20, 24, 28 and 48h incubation and reactions verified. There were slight increases in positive reactions over time with unchlorinated samples, for which the two media gave similar kinetic patterns. The increases over time with chlorinated samples were much greater than with unchlorinated samples. LTB gave significantly lower total positive responses and had a more pronounced lag period than did Colisure. Total coliform bacteria from surface water samples gave somewhat different reactions with more of an increase with time. Colisure recovered comparable or higher numbers of total coliforms and E. coli in 20–28h than LTB after 48h. These results confirm that Colisure gives improved recovery of chlorine-injured total coliforms and E. coli under conditions simulating treated drinking and source water, resulting in a more realistic estimate of the actual population of indicator bacteria in public water supplies.

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