Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version

January 1954


Published in Applied Environmental Microbiology, volume 2, number 3, 1954. Copyright © 1954 by the American Society for Microbiology. Used by permission.


Mineral oils, when emulsified with materials such as soaps of petroleum sulfonates, fatty acids, abietic acid or resin, are referred to as soluble oils. These oils, mixed with water, form stable emulsions which are universally employed as coolants and lubricants for drilling, cutting, and grinding of metals. In addition to the emulsifying agent, soluble oils may also contain fatty oils, disinfectants and emulsion stabilizers.
The oils supplied by the manufacturer are sterile, but when mixed with water in the machine shop they support microbial growth (Duffet et al., 1943; Fabian and Pivnick, 1953; Lee and Chandler, 1941; Page and Bushnell, 1921). In fact, contaminants from soil, floor sweepings, air, river water, and feces grow readily in these emulsions (Fabian and Pivnick, 1953).
The C. B. Dolge Company (undated pamphlet) has reported that feces and other body discharges are found in soluble oil emulsions. Duffet et al. (1943), Page and Bushnell (1921), and Pivnick and Fabian (unpublished data) found coliform bacteria in samples obtained from factories in the United States. Recently, Pivnick (unpublished data) has found that emulsions from factories in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States contained between 103 and 105 coliform bacteria per ml.
The relationship of fecal pollution to the spread of enteric diseases suggested that an investigation of enteric pathogens in soluble oils should be undertaken. Preliminary experiments by Okawaki (1953) showed that enteric pathogens grew well in this medium. This report is concerned with the growth of some representative enteric pathogens and Klebsiella pneumoniae.

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