Sorbitol-fermenting bifidobacteria as specific indicators of human faecal pollution

J Appl Bacteriol. 1983 Oct;55(2):349-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.1983.tb01331.x.


Bifidobacteria were consistently present in the faeces of both man and pigs but only occasionally in the faeces of cattle and sheep, and they were not isolated from faecal samples from other animals; total counts of bifidobacteria were obtained by membrane filtration with YN-17 medium, a modification of Resnick and Levin's YN-6 medium. Mannitol-fermenting strains of bifidobacteria were isolated from both human and animal faeces, but sorbitol-fermenting strains were obtained only from human samples. These sorbitol-fermenting strains were identified as either Bifidobacterium adolescentis or B. breve and their numbers were obtained by membrane filtration of Human Bifid Sorbitol agar (HBSA). Sorbitol-fermenting bifidobacteria are specific indicators of human faecal pollution of waters and wastewaters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bifidobacterium / isolation & purification*
  • Bifidobacterium / metabolism
  • Cattle / microbiology
  • Culture Media
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Fermentation
  • Humans
  • Sewage*
  • Sheep / microbiology
  • Sorbitol / metabolism
  • Swine / microbiology
  • Water Pollution*


  • Culture Media
  • Sewage
  • Sorbitol