Determination of the heterotrophic plate count (HPC) is commonly used as a surrogate to assess the general microbial water quality in drinking water. For routine monitoring applications, the HPC is investigated in a quantitative way. However, qualitative data about the HPC bacterial community composition and/or population dynamics are required for particular situations. In order to provide fast and efficient qualitative approaches, molecular biological DNA profiling techniques seem to be suitable tools for the analysis of the total HPC community composition. In this work a DNA profiling technique is presented, which was recently demonstrated by our group to have potential for the rapid qualitative comparison and differentiation of HPC communities from raw and drinking water. The presented approach consists of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) for the generation of 16S-rDNA amplicon fingerprints from whole HPC community DNA extracts. In the context of this proceeding, the methodical background is presented and possible scientific merits as well as potential water management applications are discussed. Selected examples of (i) the demonstration of selective growth of HPC populations on different media and the comparison to the total in situ drinking water eubacterial community, (ii) the screening for HPC community variations at different locations of a drinking water distribution system, and (iii) the influence assessment on groundwater HPC communities by an infiltrating treated sewage effluent (bacterial source tracking) are given.
- Heterotrophic plate count (HPC)
- Population screening
- Water quality
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science