Link Between Caffeine and Bacteria

by Sheela Philomena on  November 22, 2011 at 12:24 PM Research News
RSS Email Print This Page Comment bookmark
Font : A-A+

Traces of caffeine serve as a useful indicator of the contamination of waters by sewers, say researchers led by Prof. Sébastien Sauvé of the University of Montreal's Department of Chemistry.
 Link Between Caffeine and Bacteria
Link Between Caffeine and Bacteria

"E coli bacteria is commonly used to evaluate and regulate the levels of fecal pollution of our water from storm water discharge, but because storm sewers systems collect surface runoff, non-human sources can contribute significantly to the levels that are observed," Sauvé explained. "Our study has determined that there is a strong correlation between the levels of caffeine in water and the level of bacteria, and that chemists can therefore use caffeine levels as an indicator of pollution due to sewerage systems.

"The researchers took water samples from streams, brooks and storm sewer outfall pipes that collect storm waters across the Island of Montreal, and analyzed them for caffeine, fecal coliforms, and a third suspected indicator, carbamazepine. Shockingly, all the samples contained various concentrations of these contaminants, which would suggest that contamination is widespread in urban environments. Carbamazepine is an anti-seizure drug which is also increasingly used for various psychiatric treatments, and the researchers thought it might be a useful indicator because it degrades very slowly. However, unlike with caffeine, no correlation was found.

Caffeine degrades within a few weeks to 2-3 months in the environment and is very widely consumed. The presence of caffeine is also a sure indicator of human sewage contamination, as agriculture and industry do not tend to release caffeine into the environment. The team also noted that the data suggest that Montreal's storm water collection system is widely contaminated by domestic sewers. On the other hand, the researchers observed high levels of fecal coliforms but little or no caffeine in some of the samples, which they attribute to urban wildlife. "This data reveals that any water sample containing more than the equivalent of ten cups of coffee diluted in an Olympic-size swimming pool is definitely contaminated with fecal coliforms," Sauvé said. "A caffeine sampling program would be relatively easy to implement and might provide a useful tool to identify sanitary contamination sources and help reduce surface water contamination within an urban watershed."

Source: Eurekalert

Post a Comment

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
Notify me when reply is posted
I agree to the terms and conditions

Related Links

More News on:

Shigellosis Cannabis Drug Abuse Caffeine and Decaffeination Coffee MRSA - The Super Bug Coffee, Caffeine and Your Health Top Health Tips to Overcome Tiredness Diet and Nutrition Tips for Athletes Calcium Rich Foods 

News A - Z

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

News Search

Medindia Newsletters

Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Advertisement
Find a Doctor

Stay Connected

  • Available on the Android Market
  • Available on the App Store

Facebook

Advertisement

News Category

News Archive