Michael Taylor

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PhD, Microbiology, University of New Hampshire, 2017
University of New Hampshire
McNair Scholar, 2001
Major: Microbiology
Mentor: Dr. Stephen Torosian, Assistant Professor of Microbiology
Research Topic: Examination of Bottled Water for the Discovery of Microbiological Contaminants

Examination of Bottled Water for the Discovery of Microbiological Contaminants
Since the beginning of the 20th century a trend has developed for consumers to purchase and consume bottled water. This trend emerged mainly because of the belief that bottled water is pure and clean. Nevertheless, the FDA has not set any considerable regulations on the water that is dispensed into these bottles. Bottled water companies collect water from various sources such as mountain, underground, and municipal waters and dispense it into a bottle. For years the assumption has been made by consumers that since this water is put into a bottle it is free of microbiological contaminants.

The purpose of my research was to investigate various bottles of water from 43 bottling companies. My research entailed examining the water for chlorine, bacteria, coliforms, and viruses. Upon completion of lab research various companies were contacted in order to determine their method of purification. I found that every bottle of water contained at least some amount of one or more of the agents I tested for.

After researching an area that has not been delved into at any great extent in the past, it was seen that bottled water is not that pure after all. Society for the longest time has been under the assumption that bottled water is 100% pure when in fact it is far from it.