Survival of Escherichia coli and Vibrio harveyi in Dead Sea water

Aharon Oren*, Lea Vlodavsky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


When suspensions of Escherichia coli or the marine luminescent bacterium Vibrio harveyi were mixed with Dead Sea water, the number of viable bacteria decreased by 90% in a time varying from less than 1 h to several hours, depending on the bacterial strain tested. Survival was better at low temperatures, and diluting the Dead Sea water permitted prolonged survival of both coliform bacteria and V. harveyi. The death rate of E. coli in Dead Sea water was comparable to that in water from the Great Salt Lake (Utah). The high concentrations of calcium and magnesium in Dead Sea water, rather than the high total salinity, was identified as the main factor responsible for the rapid die-off. Exposure to direct solar irradiation significantly increased the die-off rate of E. coli in Dead Sea water. Large numbers of coliform bacteria were recovered from the lake at distances of at least 20 m from a sewage discharge site on the western shore of the Dead Sea.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)365-371
Number of pages7
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1985


  • Escherichia coli viability
  • hypersaline lakes
  • sewage effluent


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