A keystone Methylobacterium strain in biofilm formation in drinking water

Tsagkari, E. , Keating, C. , Couto, J. M. and Sloan, W. T. (2017) A keystone Methylobacterium strain in biofilm formation in drinking water. Water, 9(10), 778. (doi: 10.3390/w9100778)

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The structure of biofilms in drinking water systems is influenced by the interplay between biological and physical processes. Bacterial aggregates in bulk fluid are important in seeding biofilm formation on surfaces. In simple pure and co-cultures, certain bacteria, including Methylobacterium, are implicated in the formation of aggregates. However, it is unclear whether they help to form aggregates in complex mixed bacterial communities. Furthermore, different flow regimes could affect the formation and destination of aggregates. In this study, real drinking water mixed microbial communities were inoculated with the Methylobacterium strain DSM 18358. The propensity of Methylobacterium to promote aggregation was monitored under both stagnant and flow conditions. Under stagnant conditions, Methylobacterium enhanced bacterial aggregation even when it was inoculated in drinking water at 1% relative abundance. Laminar and turbulent flows were developed in a rotating annular reactor. Methylobacterium was found to promote a higher degree of aggregation in turbulent than laminar flow. Finally, fluorescence in situ hybridisation images revealed that Methylobacterium aggregates had distinct spatial structures under the different flow conditions. Overall, Methylobacterium was found to be a key strain in the formation of aggregates in bulk water and subsequently in the formation of biofilms on surfaces.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Keating, Dr Ciara and Tsagkari, Dr Erifyli and Sloan, Professor William and Couto, Dr Jillian
Authors: Tsagkari, E., Keating, C., Couto, J. M., and Sloan, W. T.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Infrastructure and Environment
Journal Name:Water
ISSN (Online):2073-4441
Published Online:12 October 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Water 9(10): 778
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
621351Synthetic Biology applications to Water Supply and RemediationSteven BeaumontEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/K038885/1VPO VICE PRINCIPAL RESEARCH & ENTERPRISE