Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 200, Issue 9, pp 1323–1331 | Cite as

Biofilm and planktonic bacterial communities in a drinking water distribution system supplied with untreated groundwater

  • Jianfei Chen
  • Ningning Li
  • Shuguang Xie
  • Chao Chen
Original Paper


It is known that both disinfection and water quality can influence the bacterial communities in a drinking water distribution system (DWDS). Here, we hypothesized that bacterial communities in a DWDS with untreated groundwater with no prior purification and disinfection might differ from those in a DWDS with disinfected surface water. The present study applied Illumina MiSeq sequencing to investigate biofilm and planktonic bacterial communities in a DWDS fed with untreated groundwater (receiving no prior purification and disinfection). Considerable differences in bacterial richness (Chao1 richness estimator: 389–745 for water and 392–485 for biofilm), diversity (Shannon diversity index: 2.70–3.77 for water and 2.53–3.66 for biofilm) and community structure existed among both DWDS waters and biofilms. Biofilm and planktonic bacterial communities had distinct structures. The service time of DWDS could affect biofilm bacterial richness, diversity and community structure. Moreover, planktonic bacterial diversity and community structure might be influenced by NO2 concentration, while planktonic bacterial richness was related to NO3 concentration. Proteobacteria dominated in both biofilm and planktonic bacterial communities. Higher concentrations of NO2 favored the deltaproteobacterial proportion, but lowered the gammaproteobacterial proportion in drinking water. Overall, our study indicates that bacterial communities in a DWDS could be influenced by a variety of factors, such as habitats (water or biofilm), DWDS service time, and water chemistry.


Drinking water distribution system (DWDS) Microbial community Nitrogen Proteobacteria 



This research was supported by the National Water Major Project (Grant No. 2015ZX07402-002) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 21777079).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Human and animal rights statement

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

203_2018_1546_MOESM1_ESM.docx (31 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 30 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Sciences and EngineeringPeking UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, School of EnvironmentTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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