Coliform Bacteria From A Drinking Water Distribution System: Microbial Source Tracking, Characterization And Biofilm Formation
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A library of 18 coliform bacteria strains was obtained from different sampling points in the drinking water distribution system in Lexington, KY, over a three month period in 2006. To investigate the cause of the coliform occurrence we conducted a microbial source tracking study using phenotypic (API 20E, Biolog, and Vitek) and genotypic (pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and ribotyping) analyses to determine the degree of genetic variation among isolates. Characterization of isolates by PFGE and ribotyping showed that coliform events in the distribution system were related and a regrowth problem may exist due to biofilm formation. The ability of a persistent Enterobacter cloacae strain to adhere and form biofilm was found to depend on environmental conditions such as temperature, pipe material, soiled surface, chlorine and nutrient levels with higher temperatures and nutrient levels promoting adherence. Considerable variation in adherence and biofilm formation was observed among representative Enterobacter isolates.