The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has developed method 1623 for simultaneous detection of Cryptosporidium oocysts and Giardia cysts in water. Method 1623 includes four major steps: filtration, immunomagnetic separation (IMS), fluorescent antibody (FA) staining and microscopic examination. It was noted that the recovery levels following IMS-FA and FA staining were high, averaging more than 92.0% and 89.0% for C. parvum oocysts and G. lamblia cysts, respectively. In contrast, when the filtration step was incorporated, the recovery level of C. parvum oocysts declined significantly to 18.1% in seeded tap water, while a relatively high recovery level of 77.2% for G. lamblia cysts could still be achieved. Further study indicated that the recovery level of C. parvum oocysts could be enhanced significantly when an appropriate amount of silica particles was added to a water sample. The recovery level of C. parvum oocysts was affected by particle size and concentration. The optimal silica particle size was determined to be within the range of 5-40 μm, and the corresponding optimal silica concentration was 1.42 g for 10-l tap water. When both G. lamblia cysts and C. parvum oocysts were spiked into the tap water sample containing the optimum amount of silica particles, the average recovery levels of oocysts and cysts were 82.7% and 75.4%, respectively. The results obtained clearly suggested that addition of an appropriate amount of silica particles could improve the recovery level of C. parvum oocysts significantly and yet there was no noticeable deleterious effect on the recovery level of G. lamblia cysts. Further study indicated that the rotation time in the IMS procedure using the Dynal GC-Combo IMS kit (which was recommended in method 1623) was important for G. lamblia cyst detection. In contrast, the recovery level of C. parvum oocysts was not affected by the rotation time. Furthermore, it was found that the recovery levels of C. parvum oocysts using methods 1622 and 1623 were quite close although different IMS kits were used in the two methods.
- Immunomagnetic separation