In the present study, triplicate rings of 360° pipe surfaces of an operational drinking water distribution pipe were swabbed. Each ring was equally divided into 16 parts for swabbing. The collected swabs were grouped into 3 sections and compared with the biofilm samples sampled by sonication of specimens from the same pipe. The results showed that the biofilm is unevenly distributed over the 16 parts and the 3 sections of the pipe surface. Both the active biomass and the number of observed OTUs increased as the measurements proceeded from the top to the bottom of the pipe. The bacterial community was dominated in all sections by Proteobacteria. At the genus level, Nitrospira spp., Terrimonas spp., and Hyphomicrobium spp. were dominant in all sections. Gaiella spp. and Vicinamibacter spp. dominated in S-I, Blastopirellula spp. and Pirellula spp. dominated in S-II, while Holophaga spp. and Phaeodactylibacter spp. dominated in S-III. When swabbing and pipe specimen sonication were compared, the results showed that the sampling strategy significantly influences the obtained biofilm bacterial community. A consistent multisectional swabbing strategy is proposed for future biofilm sampling; it involves collecting swabs from all sections and comparing the swabs from the same position/section across locations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5619-5628
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental science & technology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2020

ID: 72979409