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Terra Latinoamericana

versión On-line ISSN 2395-8030versión impresa ISSN 0187-5779


RODRIGUEZ, Silvia et al. Nitrate and bacterial contamination in water. Terra Latinoam [online]. 2012, vol.30, n.2, pp.111-119. ISSN 2395-8030.

Groundwater nitrate pollution is one of the most serious problems worldwide. In Argentina, concentrations over 45 mg L-1 are potentially dangerous, and concentrations above this threshold were found in drinking water. Moreover, many papers mention a relationship between the concentration of this ion and the proliferation of bacteria. In order to determine whether nitrate concentration as indicative of bacterial water contamination, in different water sources in Itatí, Corrientes, Argentina, twelve sampling points were selected. Every fifteen days for seven months, physicochemical and bacteriological analyses were conducted with samples. Nitrate concentrations, expressed as mg L-1 were determined by molecular absorption spectrophotometry and the most probable number (MNP) technique was used for counting coliform bacteria. The presence of bacteria was determined using Mac Conkey medium (screening) and were confirmed with Brilla medium at 37 °C. Additionally, the presence of fecal coliforms was determined from the positives of the screening phase (total coliforms) and no fecal coliforms with Koser citrate medium. Data were subjected to an analysis of descriptive statistics and relationships among the studied parameters were analyzed by Pearson correlation using Infostat Software. Nitrate concentrations in surface water had low values below 4 mg L-1 in all sampling sites, while values ranged from 0.05 to 36 mg L-1 for drilling and between 0.32 and 37 mg L-1 for wells. Regarding bacterial load, the highest count of total coliforms was detected in well water and lagoon samples; however, fecal coliforms were detected in surface water and groundwater. Only significant negative correlations were found between nitrate and total coliforms and nitrate and fecal coliforms. The origin of pollution can be attributed point sources and non-agricultural activity.

Palabras llave : pollution; monitoring; sampler; aquifer; correlation.

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