In this issue


Microbiology Australia Microbiology Australia
Issue 1

Vertical Transmission, March 2009

In recent years there has been a growing concern about the increasing shortfall in a trained workforce in pathology and related fields. This culminated last October with the release of the, so called, Legg report, entitled The Australian Pathology Workforce Crisis commissioned by the Department of Health and Aging. In the lead up to this report, and following its release, the Pathology Associations Committee (PAC), of which ASM is a member, has been working to revise and update the competency based standards for medical scientists.

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Water sustainability: future directions

Water sustainability: future directions Whether you’re a believer or a sceptic about global warming and the influence of human activity on the climate, there is little argument about the current impact of drought and changing rainfall patterns on Australia. The Australian community is coming to grips with the fact that we need to be cleverer on how we use water. This has resulted in a significant increase in interest about water sustainability and has increased demands on governments at all levels to improve water usage and efficiency.

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Pathogen survival in recycled water

Pathogen survival in recycled water Water shortages affect more than 2 billion people worldwide in over 40 countries, with 1.1 billion people living without sufficient drinking water. Captured stormwater and treated wastewater can be used for supplementing non-potable water supplies. However presence of enteric pathogens in the reclaimed water can lead to potential health hazards.

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Pathogens and indicators in wastewater matrices

As climate change and increasing population sizes continue to place stress on water resources, communities are increasingly looking to recycled water as a supplementary water source, whether for drinking water, domestic irrigation, industrial or agricultural use. Protecting public health by ensuring the safety of water supplies is a key concern for the water industry and health authorities.

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Pathogens in recycled water: are they measurable?

In developed countries water managers are constantly under pressure to provide the clean and safe water. Traditionally, and for at least the past 100 years, the management of biological water quality has relied on the use of microbial indicator organisms to assess the potential risk of water-borne disease. However, over the past few years, there have been a number of critical reviews of guidelines and standards for managing risk in water storage, treatment and supply. International, national and state agencies have initiated these reviews and h...

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The impact of biofilms on water quality in long pipelines

Limited water availability and increased water demand necessitates the use of long pipelines to distribute potable and non-potable water for human consumption or other purposes. The effects of microbial growth and activity on the quality of distributed water have been studied for many years, although in recent years much of this focus has shifted to understanding the effects of biofilms, rather than planktonic microorganisms, on water quality. Recently, it was estimated that 95% of all biomass in water distribution systems is in the form of pip...

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Quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) for water re-use via aquifers

Worldwide, there is an increasing interest in the recharge of aquifers as a method for augmenting urban water supplies. Managed aquifer recharge (MAR) can utilise a variety of non-traditional source waters including urban stormwater and reclaimed water from sewage effluent. However, these alternate water sources may contain a wide range of pathogenic hazards that pose risks to human health. Hence the safe use of recycling water via aquifers requires potential risks to be reduced to acceptable levels. This article outlines the approach recommend...

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Meeting the recycled water challenge for Sydney

Sydney Water is seeking to maximise the delivery of recycled water meeting suitable standards for the intended use. The approach of health risk management through the 12 components of the national guidelines for water recycling is used in close consultation with the NSW Department of Health. Considerable effort is being put into demonstrating compliance with the guidelines when they are applied to specific recycling projects.

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The safe use of recycled water

Continued population growth, droughts and limited water storage capacity are placing ever increasing pressure on Australian water supplies. One of the responses to this pressure has been increased use of recycled water. However, increased use has to be balanced against protection of public health; the greatest risk is from enteric microorganisms. The separation of human drinking water supplies from wastewater has been the largest single contributor to improved population health in the developed world through reducing infectious disease and exte...

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A consensus: microbial source tracking (MST) in water

Traditionally, water quality regulation and protection of public health has relied on culture-based methods that quantify faecal indicators such as the coliforms. Since Escherichia coli represents over 97% of the thermotolerant coliforms, it has been used extensively as a key indicator of faecal contamination in water testing industry. However the presence of E. coli or other coliforms (and more recently enterococci) does not provide any information regarding the source of contamination and therefore is not always an effective indicator of actu...

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Microbial population changes during managed aquifer recharge (MAR)

Managed aquifer recharge (MAR) is a technique that can be used to capture and store water in aquifers under managed conditions for later recovery and use for specific purposes. There is a need to predict water quality changes during MAR, particularly when recycled water is used as the recharged water. An understanding of the interaction between the geochemistry of the aquifer and the microbial population dynamics in the groundwater is important for understanding any water quality changes. A study was undertaken to monitor the changes in the mic...

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Quantitative detection of pathogens in roof-harvested rainwater

Roof-harvested rainwater is an alternative water source. Though generally considered acceptable for potable use, the presence of pathogens has been reported in research literature. Various zoonotic pathogens are present in faeces of animals that have access to the roof and, following rain events, pathogens may be transported to rainwater tanks via roof runoff. The microbiological quality of water is traditionally assessed by enumerating faecal indicators such as Escherichia coli and enterococci. Significant limitations in using faecal indicator...

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The re-use of water in agricultural settings

Agriculture offers considerable opportunities for the safe and sustainable re-use of water, be that water sourced from humans or animals. A key point is understanding the differences in pathogen profiles between wastewater from humans as compared with that derived from animals. Agricultural re-use also offers the opportunity to appropriately match the treatment level of the used water with the planned end-use. There is no doubt that the reuse of water in agriculture will be an increasing focus as Australian agriculture adapts to the challenges ...

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Enteric bacteria build-up in effluent irrigated plantations

Australia uses more than 70% of re-used effluent as irrigation in playgrounds, parks, golf courses and race courses. This land irrigation is preferred over other methods (wetlands, tertiary treatment and aquifer storage) for being the economical, practical and vastly applicable option. Bacteria (Escherichia coli, and Salmonella spp.), protozoa (Giardia spp. and Cryptosporidium spp.), viruses (Poliovirus, Coxsackie virus and Norwalk virus) and helminths (tapeworms and hookworms) are the major pathogens present in municipal effluent. These enteri...

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ASM Affairs, March 2009

New ASM Honorary Life Member Ian Holmes; Student Special Interest Group

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