Next Article in Journal
A Prospective Cohort Study of Alcohol Exposure in Early and Late Pregnancy within an Urban Population in Ireland
Previous Article in Journal
Extreme Precipitation and Beach Closures in the Great Lakes Region: Evaluating Risk among the Elderly
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(2), 2033-2048; doi:10.3390/ijerph110202033
Article

Risk Assessment of the Schmutzdecke of Biosand Filters: Identification of an Opportunistic Pathogen in Schmutzdecke Developed by an Unsafe Water Source

1,†
,
1,†
,
1
 and
2,*
Received: 2 January 2014 / Revised: 31 January 2014 / Accepted: 8 February 2014 / Published: 14 February 2014
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [373 KB, uploaded 19 June 2014]   |   Browse Figures

Abstract

The biosand filter (BSF) is widely applied in developing counties as an appropriate technology-based product for supplying “safe” water. Biosand filters exhibit relatively high purifying efficiency because of the schmutzdecke (biofilm) embedded in them. However, schmutzdecke should be cleaned or discarded on a regular basis to maintain the purifying efficiency of the BSF. Due to its role in BSFs, the purifying function of schmutzdecke, rather than its potential risk when not properly discarded, has so far been the primary focus of research. This study aims to provide a risk assessment of schmutzdecke in an attempt to draw attention to a wholly new angle of schmutzdecke usage. We conducted 16S rRNA gene sequencing and phylogenetic analysis to identify opportunistic pathogens in schmutzdecke developed using water from the Hyung-San River. The results reveal that the schmutzdecke derived from this water source contains diverse and relatively high portions of opportunistic pathogen strains; 55% of all isolates collected from schmutzdecke were identified as opportunistic pathogens. Moreover, the diversity of microorganisms is increased in the schmutzdecke compared to its water source in terms of diversity of genus, phylum and opportunistic pathogen strain. As a whole, our study indicates a potential risk associated with schmutzdecke and the necessity of a solid guideline for the after-treatment of discarded schmutzdecke.
Keywords: opportunistic pathogen; nearest phylogenetic neighbor; biosand filter; schmutzdecke; 16S rRNA gene sequencing opportunistic pathogen; nearest phylogenetic neighbor; biosand filter; schmutzdecke; 16S rRNA gene sequencing
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Share & Cite This Article

Further Mendeley | CiteULike
Export to BibTeX |
EndNote
MDPI and ACS Style

Hwang, H.G.; Kim, M.S.; Shin, S.M.; Hwang, C.W. Risk Assessment of the Schmutzdecke of Biosand Filters: Identification of an Opportunistic Pathogen in Schmutzdecke Developed by an Unsafe Water Source. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 2033-2048.

View more citation formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

For more information on the journal, click here

Comments

Cited By

[Return to top]
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert