Bacteria (Singular: Bacterium)

  1. Microscopic one -celled organisms which live everywhere and perform a variety of functions. While decomposing organic matter in water, bacteria can greatly reduce the amount of oxygen in the water. They also can make water unsafe to drink.
  2. Microscopic unicellular organisms, typically spherical, rod-like, or spiral and threadlike in shape, often clumped into colonies. Some bacteria cause disease, while others perform an essential role in nature in the recycling of materials, for example, decomposing organic matter into a form available for reuse by plants. Some forms of bacteria are used to stabilize organic wastes in wastewater treatment plants, oil spills, or other pollutants. Disease-causing forms of bacteria are termed “pathogenic.”

Some forms of bacteria harmful to man include:

  1. Total Coliform Bacteria – A particular group of bacteria that are used as indicators of possible sewage pollution. They are characterized as aerobic or facultative anaerobic, gram-negative, nonspore-forming, rod-shaped bacteria which ferment lactose with gas formation within 48 hours at 3EC. In the laboratory these bacteria are defined as all the organisms that produce colonies with a golden-green metallic sheen within 24 hours when incubated at 35EC plus or minus 1.0EC on M-Endo medium (nutrient medium for bacterial growth). Their concentrations are expressed as numbers of colonies per 100 milliliter (ml) of sample.
  2. Fecal Coliform Bacteria – Bacteria that are present in the intestine or feces of warm-blooded animals. They are often used as indicators of the sanitary quality of the water. In the laboratory they are defined as all the organisms that produce blue colonies within 24 hours when incubated at 44.5EC plus or minus 0.2EC on M-FC medium (nutrient medium for bacterial growth). Their concentrations are expressed as numbers of colonies per 100 ml of sample.
  3. Fecal Streptococcal Bacteria – Bacteria found also in the intestine of warm-blooded animals. Their presence in water is considered to verify fecal pollution. They are characterized as gram-positive, cocci bacteria which are capable of growth in brain-heart infusion broth. In the laboratory they are defined as all the organisms that produce colonies which produce red or pink colonies within 24 hours at 35EC plus or minus 1.0EC on KF-streptococcus medium (nutrient medium for bacterial growth). Their concentrations are expressed as numbers of colonies per 100 ml of sample.