Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 18, pp 15347–15359 | Cite as

Variation of microbial communities and functional genes during the biofilm formation in raw water distribution systems and associated effects on the transformation of nitrogen pollutants

  • Wei Chen
  • Yanmei Gu
  • Hang XuEmail author
  • Zhigang Liu
  • Chunhui Lu
  • Chenshuo Lin
Research Article


This study aimed to investigate the variation of microbial communities and functional genes during the biofilm formation in raw water distribution systems without prechlorination and associated effects on the transformation of nitrogen pollutants by using a designed model pipe system. The results showed the transformation of nitrogen pollutants was obvious during the biofilm formation. The richness and diversity of the microbial communities changed significantly. The higher abundance of Nitrospirae in biofilm samples significantly contributed to biological nitrification. In particular, the stable content of Bacteroidetes in the biofilm and soluble microbial products released by the biomass might have enhanced the increase in dissolved organic nitrogen. In addition, the variation tendency of nitrogen functional gene abundances and their strong effects on NH4 +-N, NO2 -N, and NO3 -N transformation were clearly observed. These findings provide new insights into the evolution of microbial communities and functional genes during the initial operation period of real-world raw water distribution pipes and highlight management and possible safety issues in the subsequent water treatment process.


Raw water distribution system Biofilm formation Microbial community Functional gene groups Nitrification Denitrification 



The study was financially supported by the Key Program of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51438006), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51578209), and a project funded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD).

Supplementary material

11356_2017_9125_MOESM1_ESM.doc (635 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 635 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wei Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yanmei Gu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hang Xu
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Zhigang Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chunhui Lu
    • 3
  • Chenshuo Lin
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Integrated Regulation and Resources Development of Shallow LakesHohai UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.College of EnvironmentHohai UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic EngineeringHohai UniversityNanjingChina

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