home News Manipulation of the “drinking water microbiome” may be possible

Manipulation of the “drinking water microbiome” may be possible

A quick post here on something that’s about as close to my pet topic of “probiotics for buildings” as I’ve ever seen.  This group works on wastewater treatment, starting with the fact that a lot of bacteria makes it from the filtration process into drinking water.  They studied the “drinking water microbiome” in a treatment plant that has a stable microbial community present in thier filters (as opposed to regular sterilization of the filters).

They conclude:

“Thus, filter colonization presents a possible ecological survival strategy for bacterial communities in drinking water systems, which presents an opportunity to control the drinking water microbiome by manipulating the filter microbial community.”



David Coil

David Coil is a Project Scientist in the lab of Jonathan Eisen at UC Davis. David works at the intersection between research, education, and outreach in the areas of the microbiology of the built environment, microbial ecology, and bacterial genomics. Twitter

2 thoughts on “Manipulation of the “drinking water microbiome” may be possible

  1. We work on both drinking water treatment plants and wastewater treatment plants (note that they are completely different beasts). There are few microbial ecology studies of drinking water treatment plants and distribution systems (unlike wastewater treatment plants). With our ES&T paper, we hope to send a message to this field that it’s time to change this. We are excited about our results and especially about ideas to engineer drinking water treatment plant processes to help change the drinking water microbiome (filters as we suggest in this study may be the easiest target, but there are other options). We hope you will read our ES&T paper and comment. Send me an e-mail (raskin at umich.edu) and I will send you a reprint of our paper in Environmental Science & Technology (Pinto, A. J., C. Xi, and L. Raskin, 2012, Bacterial community structure in the drinking water microbiome is governed by filtration processes, Environmental Science & Technology, DOI: 10.1021/es302042t). You can also get access from ACS – see for their policy and process for gaining access.

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