Plant and algal interference in bacterial beta-D-galactosidase and beta-D-glucuronidase assays.

Applied and Environmental Microbiology
C M DaviesJ L Stauber


Several commonly occurring freshwater and marine plants and algae were screened for beta-D-galactosidase and beta-D-glucuronidase activities by using a 60-min enzyme assay based on the hydrolysis by these enzymes of 4-methylumbelliferyl-beta-D-galactoside and 4-methylumbelliferyl- beta-glucuronide, respectively. All freshwater plant extracts tested showed beta-D-galactosidase activity several at relatively high levels, and a number also showed beta-D-glucuronidase activity. A number of the macroalgae showed no activity of either enzyme, but those showing beta-D-galactosidase activity also showed beta-D-glucuronidase activity. The majority of microalgae showed some beta-D-galactosidase activity, but few showed beta-D-glucuronidase activity. Further studies, using the commercial Colilert test and the marine water formulation of Colilert, revealed that 2 of 11 of the microalgal species and several of the plant extracts tested caused positive reactions. It was concluded that several plant extracts and algae could significantly interfere with the detection of coliform bacteria and Escherichia coli with the use of rapid assays, on the basis of their production of beta-D-galactosidase and beta-D-glucuronidase, respectively. The signif...Continue Reading


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