Molecular ecological networks reveal the spatial-temporal variation of microbial communities in drinking water distribution systems

Wenjun Sun , Zibo Jing , Zedong Lu , Zhinan Zhao , Wenfeng Cao , Weibo Wang , Yanchu Ke , Xiaohui Wang


Received July 26, 2021,Revised , Accepted October 12, 2021, Available online February 02, 2022

Volume 35,2023,Pages 176-186

Microbial activity and regrowth in drinking water distribution systems is a major concern for water service companies. However, previous studies have focused on the microbial composition and diversity of the drinking water distribution systems (DWDSs), with little discussion on microbial molecular ecological networks (MENs) in different water supply networks. MEN analysis explores the potential microbial interaction and the impact of environmental stress, to explain the characteristics of microbial community structures. In this study, the random matrix theory-based network analysis was employed to investigate the impact of seasonal variation including water source switching on the networks of three DWDSs that used different disinfection methods. The results showed that microbial interaction varied slightly with the seasons but was significantly influenced by different DWDSs. Proteobacteria, identified as key species, play an important role in the network. Combined UV-chlorine disinfection can effectively reduce the size and complexity of the network compared to chlorine disinfection alone, ignoring seasonal variations, which may affect microbial activity or control microbial regrowth in DWDSs. This study provides new insights for analyzing the dynamics of microbial interactions in DWDSs.

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