Environmental biology

Molecular analysis of long-term biofilm formation on PVC and cast iron surfaces in drinking water distribution system

Ruyin Liu , Junge Zhu , Zhisheng Yu , DevRaj Joshi , Hongxun Zhang , Wenfang Lin , Min Yang


Received May 25, 2013,Revised September 06, 2013, Accepted , Available online March 24, 2014

Volume 26,2014,Pages 865-874

To understand the impacts of different plumbing materials on long-term biofilm formation in water supply system, we analyzed microbial community compositions in the bulk water and biofilms on faucets with two different materials-polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and cast iron, which have been frequently used for more than10 years. Pyrosequencing was employed to describe both bacterial and eukaryotic microbial compositions. Bacterial communities in the bulk water and biofilm samples were significantly different from each other. Specific bacterial populations colonized on the surface of different materials. Hyphomicrobia and corrosion associated bacteria, such as Acidithiobacillus spp., Aquabacterium spp., Limnobacter thiooxidans, and Thiocapsa spp., were the most dominant bacteria identified in the PVC and cast iron biofilms, respectively, suggesting that bacterial colonization on the material surfaces was selective. Mycobacteria and Legionella spp. were common potential pathogenic bacteria occurred in the biofilm samples, but their abundance was different in the two biofilm bacterial communities. In contrast, the biofilm samples showed more similar eukaryotic communities than the bulk water. Notably, potential pathogenic fungi, i.e., Aspergillus spp. and Candida parapsilosis, occurred in similar abundance in both biofilms. These results indicated that microbial community, especially bacterial composition was remarkably affected by the different pipe materials (PVC and cast iron).

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