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Centralized Drinking Water Treatment Operations Shape Bacterial and Fungal Community Structure

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posted on 31.05.2017, 00:00 authored by Xiao Ma, Amit Vikram, Leonard Casson, Kyle Bibby
Drinking water microbial communities impact opportunistic pathogen colonization and corrosion of water distribution systems, and centralized drinking water treatment represents a potential control for microbial community structure in finished drinking water. In this article, we examine bacterial and fungal abundance and diversity, as well as the microbial community taxonomic structure following each unit operation in a conventional surface water treatment plant. Treatment operations drove the microbial composition more strongly than sampling time. Both bacterial and fungal abundance and diversity decreased following sedimentation and filtration; however, only bacterial abundance and diversity was significantly impacted by free chlorine disinfection. Similarly, each treatment step was found to shift bacterial and fungal community beta-diversity, with the exception of disinfection on the fungal community structure. We observed the enrichment of bacterial and fungal taxa commonly found in drinking water distribution systems through the treatment process, for example, Sphingomonas following filtration and Leptospirillium and Penicillium following disinfection. Study results suggest that centralized drinking water treatment processes shape the final drinking water microbial community via selection of community members and that the bacterial community is primarily driven by disinfection while the eukaryotic community is primarily controlled by physical treatment processes.