The impact of cyanobacteria on growth and death of opportunistic pathogenic bacteria

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Climate change may cause increased microbial growth in water sources and more knowledge is required on how this may affect the hygienic water quality, i.e., whether increased occurrence of cyanobacteria and algae may stimulate the growth rate of opportunistic pathogenic bacteria. Laboratory experiments were performed to investigate if the presence of the cyanobacteria Anabanea lemmermannii and Microcystis aeruginosa affected the survival and growth rate of the opportunistic pathogenic bacteria Aeromonas hydrophila and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and the faecal indicators Escherichia coli and coliforms. Cyanobacteria were cultured in bottles containing the nutrient-poor medium O2. Sewage, A. hydrophila or P. aeruginosa was added to cyanobacterial cultures and the bacterial growth and survival was followed. E. coli and coliforms from sewage died within few days and the decay rate was not affected by the presence of cyanobacteria. The presence of Anabaena stimulated the growth rate of P. aeruginosa, but had no effect on the growth rate of A. hydrophila. Microcystis had no effect on the growth rate of P. aeruginosa and an inhibiting effect on the growth rate of A. hydrophila.

Keywords: bacterial growth, climate change, cyanobacteria, drinking water, hygienic water quality, opportunistic pathogenic bacteria

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