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Open AccessArticle

Opportunistic Pathogens and Microbial Communities and Their Associations with Sediment Physical Parameters in Drinking Water Storage Tank Sediments

1
ORISE, Office of Research and Development, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati, OH 45268, USA
2
Pegasus Service Inc., Cincinnati, OH 45268, USA
3
Office of Research and Development, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati, OH 45268, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Pathogens 2017, 6(4), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens6040054
Received: 8 September 2017 / Revised: 9 October 2017 / Accepted: 10 October 2017 / Published: 26 October 2017
The occurrence and densities of opportunistic pathogens (OPs), the microbial community structure, and their associations with sediment elements from eight water storage tanks in Ohio, West Virginia, and Texas were investigated. The elemental composition of sediments was measured through X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectra. The occurrence and densities of OPs and amoeba hosts (i.e., Legionella spp. and L. pneumophila, Mycobacterium spp., P. aeruginosa, V. vermiformis, Acanthamoeba spp.) were determined using genus- or species-specific qPCR assays. Microbial community analysis was performed using next generation sequencing on the Illumina Miseq platform. Mycobacterium spp. were most frequently detected in the sediments and water samples (88% and 88%), followed by Legionella spp. (50% and 50%), Acanthamoeba spp. (63% and 13%), V. vermiformis (50% and 25%), and P. aeruginosa (0 and 50%) by qPCR method. Comamonadaceae (22.8%), Sphingomonadaceae (10.3%), and Oxalobacteraceae (10.1%) were the most dominant families by sequencing method. Microbial communities in water samples were mostly separated with those in sediment samples, suggesting differences of communities between two matrices even in the same location. There were associations of OPs with microbial communities. Both OPs and microbial community structures were positively associated with some elements (Al and K) in sediments mainly from pipe material corrosions. Opportunistic pathogens presented in both water and sediments, and the latter could act as a reservoir of microbial contamination. There appears to be an association between potential opportunistic pathogens and microbial community structures. These microbial communities may be influenced by constituents within storage tank sediments. The results imply that compositions of microbial community and elements may influence and indicate microbial water quality and pipeline corrosion, and that these constituents may be important for optimal storage tank management within a distribution system. View Full-Text
Keywords: Legionella; opportunistic pathogen; storage tank sediment; microbial community; element; corrosion Legionella; opportunistic pathogen; storage tank sediment; microbial community; element; corrosion
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Qin, K.; Struewing, I.; Domingo, J.S.; Lytle, D.; Lu, J. Opportunistic Pathogens and Microbial Communities and Their Associations with Sediment Physical Parameters in Drinking Water Storage Tank Sediments. Pathogens 2017, 6, 54.

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