, Volume 166, Issue 1-4, pp 139-166

Microbial Indicators of Faecal Contamination in Water: A Current Perspective

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It is well documented that faecal contamination of drinking water has caused numerous disease outbreaks. Because the risks of disease outbreaks correlate with the incidence of faecal contamination, faecal bacteria are used as indicators of faecal contamination and hence, the possible presence of disease-causing organisms. However, different microbiological faecal indicators are used in different countries and jurisdictions. Therefore, it is important to understand the potentials and limitations of these indicator organisms before realistically implementing guidelines and regulations to safeguard our water resources. This review considers the history of indicator organisms, the evolution of the analytical methodologies (biochemical and molecular) and addresses the advantages and limitations of current faecal indicator microorganisms.