Distribution comparison and risk assessment of free-floating and particle-attached bacterial pathogens in urban recreational water: Implications for water quality management

Tingting Fang, Qijia Cui, Yong Huang, Peiyan Dong, Hui Wang, Wen Tso Liu, Quanhui Ye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The risk of pathogen exposure in recreational water is a concern worldwide. Moreover, suspended particles, as ideal shelters for pathogens, in these waters also need attention. However, the risk caused by the pathogen-particle attachment is largely unknown. Accordingly, water samples in three recreational lakes in Beijing were collected and separated into free-floating (FL, 0.22–5 μm) and particle-attached (PA, > 5 μm) fractions. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) was employed to determine the diversity of genera containing pathogens, and quantitative PCR (qPCR) was used to assess the presence of genes from Escherichia coli (uidA), Salmonella enterica (invA), Aeromonas spp. (aerA), Mycobacterium avium (16S) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (oaa). The NGS results showed stable pathogen genera composition distinctions between the PA and FL fractions. Some genera, such as Aeromonas and Mycobacterium, exhibited higher abundances in the PA fractions. qPCR revealed that most of the gene concentrations were higher within particles than were FL fractions. Some gene levels showed correlations with the particle concentrations and lake nutrient levels. Further quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) of selected strains (S. enterica and M. avium) indicated a higher health risk during secondary contact activities in lakes with more nutrients and particles. We concluded that suspended particles (mainly composed of algae) in urban recreational water might influence the pathogen distribution and could serve as reservoirs for pathogen contamination, with important management implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)428-438
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume613-614
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

Keywords

  • Human health risks
  • Pathogen diversity and concentration
  • Recreational water
  • Suspended particles
  • Water management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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