To gain insight into the bacterial dynamics present in drinking water treatment (DWT) systems, the microbial community and activity in a full-scale DWT plant (DWTP) in Guangzhou, South China, were investigated using Illumina Hiseq sequencing analyses combined with cultivation-based techniques during the wet and dry seasons. Illumina sequencing analysis of 16S rRNA genes revealed a large shift in the proportion of Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria and Firmicutes during the treatment process, with the proportion of Actinobacteria decreased sharply, whereas that of Proteobacteria and Firmicutes increased and predominated in treated water. Both microbial activity and bacterial diversity during the treatment process showed obvious spatial variation, with higher levels observed during the dry season and lower levels during the wet season. Clustering analysis and principal component analysis indicated dramatic shifts in the bacterial community after chlorination, suggesting that chlorination was highly effective at influencing the bacterial community. The bacterial community structure of finished water primarily comprised Pseudomonas, Citrobacter, and Acinetobacter, and interestingly showed high similarity to biofilms on granular activated carbon. Additionally, the abundance of bacterial communities was relatively stable in finished water and did not change with the season. A large number of unique operational taxonomic units were shared during treatment steps, indicating the presence of a diverse core microbiome throughout the treatment process. Opportunistic pathogens, including Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Citrobacter, Mycobacterium, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, Legionella, Streptococcus and Enterococcus, were detected in water including finished water, suggesting a potential threat to drinking-water safety. We also detected bacteria isolated from each treatment step using the pure-culture method. In particular, two isolates, identified as Mycobacterium sp. and Blastococcus sp., which belong to the phylum Actinobacteria, were obtained from finished water during the dry season. Together, these results provided evidence of spatial and temporal variations in DWTPs and contributed to the beneficial manipulation of the drinking water microbiome.
Science of the Total Environment – Elsevier
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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