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A study was performed in Del Rey Lagoon, City of Los Angeles, to determine if the lagoon was as a source or sink for fecal indicator bacteria (FIB: total coliforms, Escherichia coli, enterococci) and to screen for the presence of other potentially pathogenic bacteria. The lagoon receives tidal flows from the adjacent Ballona Estuary whose water usually is contaminated with FIB originating from the highly urbanized Ballona Creek Watershed. During 16 sampling events from February 2008 through March 2009, replicate water samples (n = 3) were collected 1 h prior to the high tide and 1 h prior to the following low tide. FIB concentrations were measured by the defined substrate method (IDEXX, Westbrook, Me) followed by culturing of bacterial isolates sampled from positive IDEXX Quanti-Tray wells and were identified using the Vitek 2 Compact (bioMérieux, Durham, NC). Mean concentrations of FIB often differed by an order of magnitude from flood to ebb flow conditions. The lagoon tended to act as a sink for total coliforms based on the ratio of mean flood to ebb densities (R (F/E)) >1.0 during 56 % of the sampling events and during ebb flows, as a source for E. coli and enterococci (R (F/E) <1.69 % of events). Approximately 54 species were identified from 277 isolates cultured from the IDEXX Quanti-Trays. Of these, 54 % were species known to include pathogenic strains that can be naturally occurring, introduced in runoff, or originated from other sources. Diversity and cluster analyses indicated a dynamic assemblage that changes in species composition with day-to-day fluctuations as well as tidal action. The concept of monitoring the lagoon and estuary as a sentinel habitat for pathogenic assemblages is discussed.


John H Dorsey, Víctor D Carmona-Galindo, Christopher Leary, Julie Huh, Jennifer Valdez. An assessment of fecal indicator and other bacteria from an urbanized coastal lagoon in the City of Los Angeles, California, USA. Environmental monitoring and assessment. 2013 Mar;185(3):2647-69

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PMID: 22766922

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