Rapid detection of bacterial endotoxins in drinking water and renovated wastewater

J. H. Jorgensen, J. C. Lee, H. R. Pahren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


A pilot study was conducted to determine the feasibility of using the Limulus endotoxin assay to detect endotoxins in potable waters and from reclaimed advanced waste treatment (AWT) plant effluents. Water samples were tested using both Limulus lysates prepared in the laboratory and a commercial product, Difco Pyrotest. The Limulus assay procedure was easily adapted to the testing of water samples for endotoxin. Measured endotoxin concentrations varied from 0.78 ng/ml to 1,250 ng/ml. Levels of endotoxin were not predictable based on whether the water was drinking water or AWT water, i.e., some AWT water samples had less endotoxin activity than some samples of drinking water, and some AWT waters had greater endotoxin activity than drinking water. Only three of the water samples tested were free of any detectable endotoxin. Breakpoint chlorination procedures seemed to reduce measurable endotoxin content, whereas passage through activated carbon columns was associated with greater final endotoxin concentrations in test waters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-351
Number of pages5
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1976
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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