Modification of the H2S test to screen for the detection of sulphur- and sulphate-reducing bacteria of faecal origin in water

Bastian Schnabel, Jon Caplin, Ian Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The H2S test was created to assess the microbial quality of drinking-water in low-resource settings, but the original version of the H2S test lacks sensitivity and specificity for faecal indicator bacteria. There is evidence that a modified media formula of the H2S test may be more sensitive and specific for the faecal indicator bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli) and less sensitive to organisms of non-faecal origin. This research established the detection threshold and operational range of the H2S test, and to increase its sensitivity and specificity for E. coli. A total of 20 modifications of the H2S test, and the original test, were assayed against 20 confirmed and pure culture bacteria of faecal and non-faecal origin at varying concentrations. Additionally, some of the H2S test modifications were evaluated against standard methods for drinking-water analysis. Results indicate that using a modified version of the H2S test containing L-cystine and 2-mercaptopyridine, and bile salts or penicillin G, E. coli will produce H2S. In addition, this research reveals which organisms react positively to the original and modified versions of the H2S test. The modified versions of the H2S test can be promoted as a simple screening test for microbial drinking-water safety in low-resource settings.
Original languageEnglish
Article number ws2020301
JournalWater Supply
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • drinking water quality
  • faecal indicator bacteria
  • H2S test
  • method development
  • sulphur-reducing bacteria
  • water quality monitoring

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