This chapter covers a variety of organisms that are routinely monitored for in environmental samples such as food or water, and whose presence indicates the potential for pathogenic microorganisms. Following a discussion of indicator organisms including the criteria for an "ideal" indicator, specific indicator organisms are discussed with respect to their advantages and deficiencies as indicators of pathogenic microbes. A section on total coliforms includes a discussion of the most probable number (MPN) test; the membrane filter (MF) test; and the presence-absence (P-A) test. Other indicators discussed include: fecal coliforms and E. coli; fecal streptococci; Clostridium perfringens; Bacteroides and Bifidobacterium; heterotrophic plate count (HPC); and bacteriophages. Finally, standards and criteria for indicators are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEnvironmental Microbiology
Subtitle of host publicationThird Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9780123946263
StatePublished - 2015


  • Bacteriophage
  • Bacteroides
  • Clostridium perfringens
  • Fecal coliforms
  • Fecal streptococci
  • Heterotrophic plate count
  • Indicator microorganisms
  • Total coliforms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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