Aggregation and biofilm formation of bacteria isolated from domestic drinking water

B. Ramalingam, R. Sekar, J. B. Boxall, C. A. Biggs

Abstract

The objective of this study was to investigate the autoaggregation, coaggregation and biofilm formation of four bacteria namely Sphingobium, Xenophilus, Methylobacterium and Rhodococcus isolated from drinking water. Auto and coaggregation studies were performed by both qualitative (DAPI staining) and semi-quantitative (visual coaggregation) methods and biofilms produced by either pure or dual-cultures were quantified by crystal violet method. Results from the semi-quantitative visual aggregation method did not show any immediate auto or coaggregation, which was confirmed by the 4′,6 diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) staining method. However, after 2 hours, Methylobacterium showed the highest autoaggregation of all four isolates. The Methylobacterium combinations showed highest coaggregation between dual species at extended period of times (72 hours). Biofilm formation by pure cultures was negligible in comparison to the quantity of biofilm produced by dual-species biofilms. The overall results show that coaggregation of bacteria isolated from drinking water was mediated by species-specific and time-dependent interactions with a synergistic type of biofilm formation. The results of this study are therefore a useful step in assisting the development of potential control strategies by identifying specific bacteria that promote aggregation or biofilm formation in drinking water distribution systems.

  • aggregation
  • bacteria
  • biofilms
  • coaggregation
  • DAPI
  • drinking water
  • Received November 10, 2012.
  • Accepted February 11, 2013.