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J Appl Microbiol. 2003;95(3):591-601.

Formation of natural biofilms during chlorine dioxide and u.v. disinfection in a public drinking water distribution system.

Author information

1
Department of Environmental Microbiology, Water Technology and Geotechnology Division, Institute for Technical Chemistry, Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe GmbH, Karlsruhe, Germany. thomas.schwartz@itc-wgt.fzk.de

Abstract

AIMS:

The influence of two disinfection techniques on natural biofilm development during drinking water treatment and subsequent distribution is compared with regard to the supply of a high-quality drinking water.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

The growth of biofilms was studied using the biofilm device technique in a real public technical drinking water asset. Different pipe materials which are commonly used in drinking water facilities (hardened polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, steel and copper) were used as substrates for biofilm formation. Apart from young biofilms, several months old biofilms were compared in terms of material dependence, biomass and physiological state. Vital staining of biofilms with 5-cyano-2,3-ditolyl tetrazolium chloride (CTC) and the DNA-specific 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) staining resulted in a significant difference in physiological behaviour of biofilm populations depending on the disinfection technique. Compared with chlorine dioxide disinfection (0.12-0.16 mg l-1), the respiratory activities of the micro-organisms were increased on all materials during u.v. disinfection (u.v.254; 400 J m-2). The biofilm biocoenosis was analysed by in situ hybridization with labelled oligonucleotides specific for some subclasses of Proteobacteria. Using PCR and additional hybridization techniques, the biofilms were also tested for the presence of Legionella spp., atypical mycobacteria and enterococci. The results of the molecular-biological experiments in combination with cultivation tests showed that enterococci were able to pass the u.v. disinfection barrier and persist in biofilms of the distribution system, but not after chlorine dioxide disinfection.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results indicated that bacteria are able to regenerate and proliferate more effectively after u.v. irradiation at the waterworks, and chlorine dioxide disinfection appears to be more applicative to maintain a biological stable drinking water.

SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY:

As far as the application of u.v. disinfection is used for conditioning of critical water sources for drinking water, the efficiency of u.v. irradiation in natural systems should reach a high standard to avoid adverse impacts on human health.

PMID:
12911708
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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