Charakterystyka mikrobiologiczna i ocena sanitarna środowiska naturalnego Ojcowskiego Parku Narodowego ze szczególnym uwzględnieniem antropopresji

Maria Jolanta Chmiel


Having regard to the lack of thorough microbiological studies of the natural environment at the Ojcowski National Park (OPN), the presented study is the attempt to conduct the microbiological assessment and sanitary evaluation of the park’s environment complemented with microclimatic and chemical soil and water analyzes with particular emphasis on the effect of tourism as well as human activity on the protected area of the reserve. Research, conducted from 2009 to 2011, covered the main watercourses: Prądnik and Sąspówka rivers as well as numerous springs of the Prądnik and Sąspowska valleys together with soils in different sites. Moreover, a number of microbial air quality analyzes at the tourist routes were conducted and the dynamics of microbial changes was studied in the caves open to the public and in the ones located at the strict protection area – in Jamki Gully. When analyzing the results of microbiological examinations of soil, it was found that the mean temperature of the decade before sampling has a statistically significant effect on soil microbial composition. The pH of the soils was varied and ranged from 3.2 to 7.09 (in KCl), and the results of the statistical analysis confirmed that the pH of the soil environment significantly affects the number of microorganisms in the OPN soils. Despite heavy metal pollution of the reserve (mainly cadmium, lead and zinc), the soils in this area are characterized by a relatively high microbial activity and contain large amount of microorganisms. Although the statistically significant effect of heavy metals on the microbial abundance in different park areas has not been confirmed, still when comparing the OPN soil microflora with literature data, it is noteworthy that the average microbial count is lower than in other soils with similar characteristics. This may indicate a negative impact of soil contamination with heavy metals throughout the park. Soils located in the strictly protected area did not differ significantly from other soils at the park, both considering heavy metal pollution and the number of microorganisms. The most numerous microflora was recorded in naturally-beech inhabited Cambic Leptosols (Calcaric) and in meadows on Haplic Cambisols with pH close to neutral, and soils in the sites located on former arable land, afforested in the 80s and 90s of the 20th century. Saprophytic bacteria (1 to 2.8 · 106 cfu · g–1 soil dry mass) and actinomycetes (1 to 2.5 cfu · g–1 soil dry mass) were the predominant components of the soil microflora, constituting over 90% of the studied microorganisms. Soil fungi represented a significant part of the microbial population in the examined soils, but their share did not exceed 10% (6 · 104 – 2.8 · 105 cfu · g–1 soil dry mass). The occurrence of diazotrophic bacteria of the genus Azotobacter was confirmed in 60% of the examined soils. These bacteria were most abundant in the natural beech forest on Cambic Leptosols (Calcaric) (nearby the Łokietka Cave) – on mean over 150 cfu · g–1 soil dry mass – and in former fields afforested not more than 30 years ago (on mean 13–14 cfu · g–1), despite low pH of the examined soils. The presence of these indicator microorganisms was not detected on former arable lands afforested with pine trees in the 30s and 50s of the 20th century. In terms of sanitary conditions, soils of the Ojcowski National Park can be classified as clean, as larger quantities of microbial indicators of fecal contamination were isolated occasionally, only in samples from the site located nearby the Joy spring, at the wild animals’ migration route to the waterhole. Psychrophilic bacteria were the main component of the water microflora, regardless of the sample origin, what seems to be obvious considering low temperature recorded both in streams and in springs. Fungi – mainly yeasts – constituted a small percentage of the analyzed waterborne microorganisms. Water and air temperature was the factor that significantly affected the number of microorganisms in stream and spring waters. In the case of the Prądnik river, water and air temperature had a statistically significant effect both on the total microbial number and on the occurrence of fecal contamination indicators. On the other hand, in the case of Sąspówka, the air temperature had more significant effect on the count of indicator microorganisms than the temperature of water itself. Such result may suggest that either low water temperatures effectively reduce the survival rate of indicator microorganisms in water, or there are additional sources of bacterial contamination in summer. Microbiological contamination of spring waters was also significantly correlated with the temperature, both of water and air. Given the fact that the number of indicator microorganisms was more affected by the temperature of air than water, we may hypothesize that the increased seasonal tourism contributes to the increase in the number of microbial indicators in spring waters. In this case we may suspect that animals and humans are the source of bacteria. Statistically significant correlation between the temperature and microbial count in water of the storm tributary was not confirmed – which may be the evidence verifying the existence of a serious, other than environmental, source of fecal contamination, probably from Skała. In view of the above, it is advisable to conduct a regular monitoring of this stream in order to locate the source of contamination. When analyzing the abundance and frequency of the occurrence of the studied microorganisms in river waters, strong contamination of water in the storm channel and its effect on waters of Prądnik below the tributary and a downward trend in water contamination of the Sąspówka river in its lower course can be observed. The tributary (storm drain) from Skała is heavily bacteriologically contaminated (5th class) and its waters, flowing into Prądnik, cause a significant increase in contamination of this river in its further course (4th class). However, above the storm drain and in sites located at a considerable distance below the channel, the stream waters may be considered satisfactory (3rd class). Elimination of the main source of microbial contamination in the park, which is the storm drain, can definitely improve water quality of Prądnik, which at present is permanently contaminated by fecal microorganisms. Waters of Sąspówka, flowing into the reserve, carry a certain amount of bacterial contamination, but the number of microorganisms in water gradually decreases, which probably results from low water temperature as well as good quality of stream waters supplying the stream in the park. Its water can be classified as 2nd class and in its final course – even as 1st class. Given the microbiological contamination of spring waters, they may be arranged in the following order (from the most to the least bacteriologically contaminated): Radości, Młynnik, Miłości, Harcerza, Filipowskiego, Przy Koziarni, Ruskie, Świętego Jana and Spod Graba. Only the latter two constantly meet the requirements for drinking water. All OPN springs, though not always meet the criteria for potable water, should be considered as very clean. The results obtained from luminescence analyzes are significantly correlated with the results of analyzes obtained using microbial culture methods. It seems that the luminescence assay can effectively replace the quantitative analyzes carried out using the plate culture method, reducing the research time and allowing to conduct them in the field. Moreover, this method may be applied for quick location of bacterial contamination sources and may facilitate the decision to perform or give up further expensive and time consuming experiments. Perhaps further, expanded studies will allow to prepare new criteria for evaluation of bacteriological water contamination based on the luminescence value. According to data obtained in chemical analyzes, waters of the storm drain contain much more pollution than waters of Prądnik or Sąspówka. Very high concentration of phosphorus in waters of the channel suggests the pollution inflow from domestic municipal sewage rather than from environmental sources. This result confirms the information obtained in the microbiological analysis. In terms of chemical contamination, waters of the analyzed rivers may be considered as good and classified as 2nd class quality. However, the storm drain from Skała, carrying heavy load of pollutants, and in terms of quality included into 4th class, poses a serious threat to waters of Prądnik. When analyzing the drug resistance pattern of Escherichia coli strains isolated from waters within the park, it was found that half of the examined strains showed resistance to at least one of the tested antibiotics, 19% were resistant to 3 and more of the examined drugs, while two strains showed resistance to even 6 antibiotics. Antibiotic-resistant strains were isolated both from Prądnik and from much less microbiologically contaminated Sąspówka and the Miłości Spring. The majority of the tested strains was resistant to trimetoprim/sulfmetaxazol, ampicillin and ticarcillin, which are drugs quite commonly used in the treatment of bacterial infections. No resistance was recorded to 8 of the tested antibiotics: ampicillin/sulbactam, cefamandole, cefepime, phosphomycin, gentamicin, imipenem, meropenem and norfloxacin. Based on the results obtained in this stage of the study, it should be noted that even in the protected area there is a serious risk of the occurrence of multidrug-resistant bacteria in the natural environment. The increased traffic, thermal conditions prevailing at the study site and, in some cases, a large number of tourists in a limited area are the main factors, significantly affecting the microbiological contamination of air within the Ojcowski National Park. The air within the park can be considered as microbiologically clean and very clean, with the exception of areas along the transport routes with high traffic intensity which fully justifies the decisions to restrict the entry of all vehicles into the park. The air temperature below 10°C and reduction of car traffic effectively decrease the microbial abundance in the reserve. Low temperature and stable conditions prevailing in caves positively affect the air quality. Large number of tourists may however contribute to the increase in the level of microbial contamination in the caves open to the public. However, even in the air of caves unavailable for visitors, large numbers of microorganisms are periodically recorded, occasionally there are also indicator microorganisms that, perhaps in this case, originate from wild animals which are quite numerous in the park. The obtained results encourage to conduct further studies, perhaps with a different frequency. Given the fact that the quantitative and qualitative composition of bioaerosol is affected by many factors, the continuous monitoring could be carried out for several days or weeks, twice per day, not only during the tourist season but also in periods when the caves are closed to tourists. Given the noninvasive nature of the analyzes, it is worth to consider all possibilities and develop new strategy for the air monitoring, both atmospheric and in caves. Human activity within and in the vicinity of the Ojcowski National Park has a significant effect on the sanitary condition of all reserve waters while car traffic is critical for microbiological contamination of air nearby the main transportation routes. The anthropogenic pressure has the least and the slowest effect on soils of the OPN. Environmental studies at the OPN are worth continuing, by conducting full monitoring also in winter. Anyhow, due to the prohibitions related to bad weather conditions and restricted access to some of the field study sites, as well as limited access to caves related not only to their location but also to the protection of hibernating bats, it may be periodically impossible.
Other language title versionsMicrobiological characteristics and sanitary evaluation of the natural environment at the Ojcowski National Park with particular emphasis on anthropogenic pressure
Book typeMonograph
Author Maria Jolanta Chmiel (FoAE / DoM)
Maria Jolanta Chmiel,,
- Department of Microbiology
PublisherUniwersytet Rolniczy im. Hugona Kołłątaja w Krakowie, MNiSW [80]
Publishing place (Publisher address)Kraków
Issue year2013
Book series /Journal (in case of Journal special issue)Zeszyty Naukowe Uniwersytetu Rolniczego im. Hugona Kołłątaja w Krakowie. Rozprawy, ISSN 1899-3486, (0 pkt)
Publication size in sheets9.8
Internal identifierWRE/12/64
Languagepl polski
Charakterystyka mikrobiologiczna i ocena sanitarna środowiska naturalnego Ojcowskiego Parku Narodowego ze szczególnym uwzględnieniem antropopresji 4,56 MB
Score (nominal)25
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