Evaluation of an internal positive control for Cryptosporidium and Giardia testing in water samples

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AimsAn internal positive control for Cryptosporidium and Giardia monitoring was evaluated for use in routine water monitoring quality control. The control, known as ColorSeed C&G (BTF Pty Ltd, Sydney, Australia), is a suspension containing exactly 100 Cryptosporidium oocysts and 100 Giardia cysts that have been modified by attachment of Texas Red to the cell wall, allowing them to be differentiated from unmodified oocysts and cysts. The control enables recovery efficiencies to be determined for every water sample analysed.Methods and ResultsA total of 494 water samples were seeded with ColorSeed C&G and with unlabelled Cryptosporidium and Giardia and then analysed. Additionally, the robustness of the ColorSeed labelling was challenged with various chemical treatments. Recoveries were significantly lower for the ColorSeed Texas Red labelled Cryptosporidium and Giardia than recoveries of unlabelled Cryptosporidium and Giardia. However, the differences in recoveries were small. On average ColorSeed Cryptosporidium recoveries were 3·3% lower than unlabelled Cryptosporidium, and ColorSeed Giardia recoveries were 4% lower than unlabelled Giardia.ConclusionsColorSeed C&G is suitable for use as an internal positive control for routine monitoring of both treated and raw water samples.Significance and Impact of the StudyThe small differences in recoveries are unlikely to limit the usefulness of ColorSeed C&G as an internal positive control. The ColorSeed labelling was found to be robust after different treatments.

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