|Title||Relationships between free-living protozoa, cultivable Legionella spp., and water quality characteristics in three drinking water supplies in the Caribbean|
|Author(s)||Valster, Rinske M.; Wullings, Bart A.; Berg, Riemsdijk van den; Kooij, Dick van der|
|Source||Applied and Environmental Microbiology 77 (2011)20. - ISSN 0099-2240 - p. 7321 - 7328.|
|Publication type||Refereed Article in a scientific journal|
The study whose results are presented here aimed at identifying free-living protozoa (FLP) and conditions favoring the growth of these organisms and cultivable Legionella spp. in drinking water supplies in a tropical region. Treated and distributed water (±30°C) of the water supplies of three Caribbean islands were sampled and investigated with molecular techniques, based on the 18S rRNA gene. The protozoan host Hartmannella vermiformis and cultivable Legionella pneumophila were observed in all three supplies. Operational taxonomic units (OTUs) with the highest similarity to the potential or candidate hosts Acanthamoeba spp., Echinamoeba exundans, E. thermarum, and an Neoparamoeba sp. were detected as well. In total, 59 OTUs of FLP were identified. The estimated protozoan richness did not differ significantly between the three supplies. In supply CA-1, the concentration of H. vermiformis correlated with the concentration of Legionella spp. and clones related to Amoebozoa predominated (82%) in the protozoan community. These observations, the low turbidity (<0.2 nephelometric turbidity units [NTU]), and the varying ATP concentrations (1 to 12 ng liter-1) suggest that biofilms promoted protozoan growth in this supply. Ciliophora represented 25% of the protozoan OTUs in supply CA-2 with elevated ATP concentrations (maximum, 55 ng liter-1) correlating with turbidity (maximum, 62 NTU) caused by corroding iron pipes. Cercozoan types represented 70% of the protozoan clones in supply CA-3 with ATP concentrations of <1 ng liter-1 and turbidity of <0.5 NTU in most samples of distributed water. The absence of H. vermiformis in most samples from supply CA-3 suggests that growth of this protozoan is limited at ATP concentrations of <1 ng liter-1.