Competition between Naegleria fowleri and Free Living Amoeba Colonizing Laboratory Scale and Operational Drinking Water Distribution Systems

Haylea C. Miller, Jason T. Wylie, Anna H. Kaksonen, David Sutton, Geoffrey J. Puzon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Free living amoebae (FLA), including pathogenic Naegleria fowleri, can colonize and grow within pipe wall biofilms of drinking water distribution systems (DWDSs). Studies on the interactions between various FLA species in biofilms are limited. Understanding the interaction between FLA and the broader biofilm ecology could help better predict DWDS susceptibility to N. fowleri colonization. The aim of this study was to determine if N. fowleri and other FLAs (Naegleria, Vermamoeba, Willaertia, and Vahlkampfia spp.) cocolonize DWDS biofilm. FLAs commonly isolated from DWDSs (N. fowleri, V. vermiformis, and N. lovaniensis) were introduced into laboratory-scale biomonitors to determine the impact of these amoebae on N. fowleri's presence and viability. Over 18 months, a single viable amoebae (N. fowleri, N. lovaniensis, or V. vermiformis) was detected in each biofilm sample, with the exception of N. lovaniensis and N. fowleri, which briefly cocolonized biofilm following their coinoculation. The analysis of biofilm and bulk water samples from operational DWDSs revealed a similar lack of cocolonization with a single FLA detected in 99% (n = 242) of samples. Interestingly, various Naegleria spp. did colonize the same DWDS locations but at different times. This knowledge furthers the understanding of ecological factors which enable N. fowleri to colonize and survive within operational DWDSs and could aid water utilities to control its occurrence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2549-2557
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume52
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2018

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