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ERIC Number: EJ745334
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-May
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 6
ISSN: ISSN-0002-7685
Optical Brighteners in Laundry Detergents Help Us Determine the Source of Bacterial Contamination
Glickstein, Neil
American Biology Teacher, v68 n5 p296-298 May 2006
Bacterial loading in water from anthropogenic sources is of common interest in both student research projects and to regulatory agencies. The presence of fecal coliform bacteria in natural waters can be the deciding indicator for how the bodies of water are classified for use. Since current tests are not specific, it is difficult to determine whether the source is human or from any of a variety of endothermic organisms that also discharge coliforms in their waste. Since the harvest of intertidal filter-feeding shellfish is closely tied to the overlying water quality, there has been an effort in Gloucester, Massachusetts to distinguish between human and animal discharge of coliforms. The analysis employs detection of optical brightening agents and has been effectively used to locate point sources of untreated human effluent into the local coastal water (Sargent & Castonguay, 1998). The technique described in this article involves the analysis of sample waters that have tested positive for fecal coliform bacteria for the presence of optically active components of laundry detergents, which is useful in determining whether the bacterial contamination source is from human or other sources. The technique is simple, inexpensive, and easily adaptable to student research projects focused on biological sources of pollution. (Contains 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts