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Processes governing the drinking water microbiome

Chan, Sandy LU (2018)
Abstract
Abstract
Safe drinking water is far from sterile and can contain 10^3-10^5 bacteria/mL. This water microbiome can be altered through various treatment processes in the drinking water treatment plant (DWTP), particularity when it comes in contact with biofilms. Biofilms cover surfaces in the drinking water systems and contain diverse bacterial communities that interact with the water. In this thesis, the bacterial communities in biofilms living on surfaces in a full-scale drinking water distribution system (DWDS), and within different slow sand filters (SSFs), were investigated to understand how they shape and interact with the water microbiome.

The installation of ultrafiltration (UF) in a DWTP resulted in extensive removal... (More)
Abstract
Safe drinking water is far from sterile and can contain 10^3-10^5 bacteria/mL. This water microbiome can be altered through various treatment processes in the drinking water treatment plant (DWTP), particularity when it comes in contact with biofilms. Biofilms cover surfaces in the drinking water systems and contain diverse bacterial communities that interact with the water. In this thesis, the bacterial communities in biofilms living on surfaces in a full-scale drinking water distribution system (DWDS), and within different slow sand filters (SSFs), were investigated to understand how they shape and interact with the water microbiome.

The installation of ultrafiltration (UF) in a DWTP resulted in extensive removal of bacteria from the distributed water. This permitted the addition of bacteria to the water from the DWDS biofilm to be quantitated in a full-scale system, and was estimated using flow cytometry to account for 58 % of the total bacterial content in the water. Using this estimate and bacterial counts from before UF was installed, when many more bacteria originated from the DWTP, the biofilm then contributed only 0.5 % of bacteria to the water microbiome. DESeq2 analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences identified specific bacterial taxa released from the biofilm including genera Nitrospira, Sphingomonas and Hyphomicrobium. This study showed that the origin of the water microbiome is complex as it can include dynamic contributions from both the DWTP and the DWDS biofilm.

In a DWTP, biofilters alter the water microbiome in ways that can persist throughout the DWDS. To identify factors in these filters that govern this transformation of the water microbiome, different SSFs were compared using flow cytometry with cytometric histogram image comparison (CHIC), and 16S rRNA gene sequencing. In contrast to that seen for new SSFs, removal of the top layer of sand, including the Schmutzdecke, did not affect the removal of E. coli and coliforms, or the transformation of the water microbiome by an established SSF. Using washed sand as an inoculum for new SSF gave a more rapid development of the surface sand community towards that was observed in the established filter. A specific transformation of the water microbiome, including an increase in intact bacteria, and bacteria with low nucleic acid (LNA) content, higher community evenness, and higher abundance of certain bacterial taxa, including Planctomycetes and Pseudomonas, are proposed as a microbial signature for desirable SSF function. This thesis has demonstrated how several technological alterations in DWTPs altered the water microbiome, and contributed to the understanding of how processes can govern the microbiome of drinking water, which is essential for control and management of this important resource.
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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Doctor Hammes, Frederik, EAWAG, Switzerland
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Drinking water microbiome, Biofilm, Slow sand filters, Ultrafiltration, Bacterial community, Flow cytometry, Next generation sequencing
pages
220 pages
publisher
Department of Chemistry, Lund University
defense location
Lecture hall B, Kemicentrum, Naturvetarvägen 14, Faculty of Engineering LTH, Lund University, Lund
defense date
2018-10-26 09:15
ISBN
978-91-7422-598-3
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
2d0e8fbf-e1e5-432e-b4a4-ea6c92caaccf
date added to LUP
2018-09-25 11:53:08
date last changed
2018-11-21 21:41:47
@phdthesis{2d0e8fbf-e1e5-432e-b4a4-ea6c92caaccf,
  abstract     = {Abstract<br/>Safe drinking water is far from sterile and can contain 10^3-10^5 bacteria/mL. This water microbiome can be altered through various treatment processes in the drinking water treatment plant (DWTP), particularity when it comes in contact with biofilms. Biofilms cover surfaces in the drinking water systems and contain diverse bacterial communities that interact with the water. In this thesis, the bacterial communities in biofilms living on surfaces in a full-scale drinking water distribution system (DWDS), and within different slow sand filters (SSFs), were investigated to understand how they shape and interact with the water microbiome. <br/><br/>The installation of ultrafiltration (UF) in a DWTP resulted in extensive removal of bacteria from the distributed water. This permitted the addition of bacteria to the water from the DWDS biofilm to be quantitated in a full-scale system, and was estimated using flow cytometry to account for 58 % of the total bacterial content in the water. Using this estimate and bacterial counts from before UF was installed, when many more bacteria originated from the DWTP, the biofilm then contributed only 0.5 % of bacteria to the water microbiome. DESeq2 analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences identified specific bacterial taxa released from the biofilm including genera Nitrospira, Sphingomonas and Hyphomicrobium. This study showed that the origin of the water microbiome is complex as it can include dynamic contributions from both the DWTP and the DWDS biofilm.<br/><br/>In a DWTP, biofilters alter the water microbiome in ways that can persist throughout the DWDS. To identify factors in these filters that govern this transformation of the water microbiome, different SSFs were compared using flow cytometry with cytometric histogram image comparison (CHIC), and 16S rRNA gene sequencing. In contrast to that seen for new SSFs, removal of the top layer of sand, including the Schmutzdecke, did not affect the removal of E. coli and coliforms, or the transformation of the water microbiome by an established SSF. Using washed sand as an inoculum for new SSF gave a more rapid development of the surface sand community towards that was observed in the established filter. A specific transformation of the water microbiome, including an increase in intact bacteria, and bacteria with low nucleic acid (LNA) content, higher community evenness, and higher abundance of certain bacterial taxa, including Planctomycetes and Pseudomonas, are proposed as a microbial signature for desirable SSF function. This thesis has demonstrated how several technological alterations in DWTPs altered the water microbiome, and contributed to the understanding of how processes can govern the microbiome of drinking water, which is essential for control and management of this important resource. <br/>},
  author       = {Chan, Sandy},
  isbn         = {978-91-7422-598-3},
  keyword      = {Drinking water microbiome,Biofilm,Slow sand filters,Ultrafiltration,Bacterial community,Flow cytometry,Next generation sequencing},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {220},
  publisher    = {Department of Chemistry, Lund University},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {Processes governing the drinking water microbiome},
  year         = {2018},
}