Struewing I, Yelton S, Ashbolt N. Molecular Survey of Occurrence and Quantity of Legionella spp., Mycobacterium spp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Amoeba Hosts in Municipal Drinking Water Storage Tank Sediments. Journal of Applied Microbiology. 2015 Apr 17. doi: 10.1111/jam.12831.
AIM: To examine the occurrence and quantity of potential pathogens and an indicator of microbial contamination in the sediments of municipal drinking water storage tanks (MDWSTs), given the absence of such data across the United States.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Sediment samples (87 MDWST) from eighteen locations across ten states of the U.S. were collected and assayed by qPCR for a range of potential enteric and opportunistic microbial pathogens and a sewage-associated Bacteroides marker. Potential opportunistic pathogens dominated, with the highest detection of occurrence (% positive detection; average cell equivalence [CE]) being Mycobacterium spp. (88.9%; 6.7 ± 8.5 x104 CE g-1 ), followed by Legionella spp. (66.7%; 5.2 ±5.9 x 103 CE g-1 ), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (22.2%; 250 ± 880 CE g-1 ), and Acanthamoeba spp. (38.9%; 53 ± 70 CE g-1 ), with no detected Naegleria fowleri. Most enteric pathogens (Campylobacter jejuni, Escherichia coli 0157:H7, Salmonella enterica, Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia duodenalis) were not detected, except for a trace signal for Campylobacter spp. There was significant correlation between the qPCR signals of Legionella spp. and Acanthamoeba spp. (R2 =0.61, n=87, P=0.0001). Diverse Legionella spp. including L. pneumophila, L. pneumophila sg1 and L. anisa were identified, each of which might cause legionellosis.
CONCLUSIONS: These results imply that potential opportunistic pathogens are common within MDWST sediments and could act as a source of microbial contamination, but needing downstream growth to be of potential concern.
SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: The results imply that opportunistic pathogen risks may need to be managed by regular tank cleaning or other management practices.
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