Enumeration of heterotrophs, fecal coliforms and Escherichia coli in water: comparison of 3M Petrifilm plates with standard plating procedures.J Microbiol Methods. 2005 Mar; 60(3):335-42.JM
A total of 177 naturally contaminated water samples were analyzed by membrane filtration according to the Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater published by the American Public Health Association. Filters were incubated in parallel on mHPC-agar and 3M Petrifilm Aerobic Count Plates (Petrifilm AC plates) for heterotrophic counts. Fecal coliforms and Escherichia coli were enumerated on mFC-agar and 3M Petrifilm E. coli/Coliform Count Plates (Petrifilm EC plates). Typical colonies on each media type were confirmed following standard procedures. Heterotrophic counts were between 10(3) and 10(4) CFU/mL and the average log10 counts obtained on Petrifilm AC plates were about two-fold lower than on mHPC-agar. Counts for fecal coliforms and E. coli were between 10(2) and 10(3) CFU/mL. Average log10 counts for confirmed fecal coliforms obtained on Petrifilm EC plates were slightly lower than on mFC agar with a correlation coefficient of 0.949. The average log10 counts for confirmed E. coli on Petrifilm EC plates and on mFC agar were statistically not different (P=0.126) with a correlation coefficient of 0.879. Specificity of Petrifilm EC plates and mFC agar was evaluated by comparing typical colony counts with confirmed counts. On mFC agar, counts for typical colonies were by 2 log10 CFU higher than the actual confirmed counts. In contrast, on Petrifilm EC plates typical colony counts were almost identical to confirmed colony counts for both fecal coliforms and E. coli. This comparison illustrates the high specificity of Petrifilm EC plates for enumeration of both fecal coliforms and E. coli in water.