Microbial quality of domestic and imported brands of bottled water in Trinidad

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Journal: Int J Food Microbiol 2002/11/09
Published: 2003
Authors: Bharath, J.;Mosodeen, M.;Motilal, S.;Sandy, S.;Sharma, S.;Tessaro, T.;Thomas, K.;Umamaheswaran, M.;Simeon, D.;Adesiyun, A. A.
Address: School of Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago.

A cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the microbial quality of domestic and imported brands of bottled water available in Trinidad, purchased from six geographical regions in Trinidad, and representing the whole island. A sample size of 344 bottles of water was determined by using a precision rate of 2% and a Type 1 error of 5%. The membrane filter technique was used with cultures grown on m-Endo agar and m-FC agar for total coliforms and thermotolerant coliforms, respectively. Aerobic plate count (APC) was determined on nutrient agar; Pseudomonas aeruginosa was detected on MacConkey agar, Escherichia coli was isolated on eosin methylene blue (EMB) and Salmonella spp. was assayed by using standard methods.Of the 344 water samples tested, 262 (76.2%) and 82 (23.8%) were domestic and imported brands, respectively. Eighteen (5.2%) of the 344 samples contained coliforms with a mean count of 0.88+/-6.38 coliforms per 100 ml, while 5 (1.5%) samples contained E. coli. The prevalence of total coliforms in domestic brands of bottled water was 6.9% (18 of 262) as compared with 0.0% (0 of 82) detected in imported brands. The difference was statistically significant (p=0.004). Similarly, the prevalence of aerobic bacteria in domestic brands of bottled water (33.6%) was significantly higher (p=0.001) than was found in imported brands (14.8%). Twenty-six (7.6%) of the total samples of water contained Pseudomonas species, but all were negative for thermotolerant coliforms and Salmonella spp.It was concluded that based on the recommended zero tolerance for coliforms in potable water, 5% of bottled water sold in Trinidad could be considered unfit for human consumption.

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