Laboratory-scale simulation and real-time tracking of a microbial contamination event and subsequent shock-chlorination in drinking water
Besmer, Michael D.
Sigrist, Jürg A.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Rapid contamination of drinking water in distribution and storage systems can occur due to pressure drop, backflow, cross-connections, accidents, and bio-terrorism. Small volumes of a concentrated contaminant (e.g., wastewater) can contaminate large volumes of water in a very short time with potentially severe negative health impacts. The technical limitations of conventional, cultivation-based microbial detection methods neither allow for timely detection of such contaminations, nor for the real-time monitoring of subsequent emergency remediation measures (e.g., shock-chlorination). Here we applied a newly developed continuous, ultra high-frequency flow cytometry approach to track a rapid pollution event and subsequent disinfection of drinking water in an 80-min laboratory scale simulation. We quantified total (TCC) and intact (ICC) cell concentrations as well as flow cytometric fingerprints in parallel in real-time with two different staining methods. The ingress of wastewater was detectable almost immediately (i.e., after 0.6% volume change), significantly changing TCC, ICC, and the flow cytometric fingerprint. Shock chlorination was rapid and detected in real time, causing membrane damage in the vast majority of bacteria (i.e., drop of ICC from more than 380 cells μl-1 to less than 30 cells μl-1 within 4 min). Both of these effects as well as the final wash-in of fresh tap water followed calculated predictions well. Detailed and highly quantitative tracking of microbial dynamics at very short time scales and for different characteristics (e.g., concentration, membrane integrity) is feasible. This opens up multiple possibilities for targeted investigation of a myriad of bacterial short-term dynamics (e.g., disinfection, growth, detachment, operational changes) both in laboratory-scale research and full-scale system investigations in practice Show more
Journal / seriesFrontiers in Microbiology
Pages / Article No.
PublisherFontiers Research Foundation
Subjectcontinuous real-time flow cytometry; drinking water; bacterial dynamics; disinfection; kinetics
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