Assessment of the Bacterial Growth Potential of Reverse Osmosis Produced Chlorinated Drinking Water



Reverse Osmosis (RO) filtration is capable of producing high quality drinking water with an ultra-low nutrient level. Therefore, a very low bacterial growth potential (BGP). BGP is a key bioassay to evaluate microbial quality and the biological stability of drinking water. Current methods to assess BGP in drinking water need to be adapted to the wide variety of water types due to results could highly vary from each, providing unreliable insights to the biological stability of the assessed water. This study evaluates the application of an FCM-based BGP assay for RO produced chlorinated drinking water. The approach combines (i) the standardization of a quenching agent concentration, (ii) the impact of sample pre-treatment such as filtration and pasteurization on the BGP of RO produced chlorinated water, (iii) the effect of different inoculums (an indigenous community and a mixture with bottled water) on the bacterial growth and their longevity after being stored, (iv) the use of BGP to assess the performance of carbon filters in removing chlorine and (v) the use of BGP to assess the effect of the addition of magnesium on bacterial growth. The results showed that high concentrations of sodium metabisulphite (> 7.5 mg/L) decrease the pH levels of the water,thus, inhibiting bacterial growth. Filtration had a significant effect on BGP values (2.62 x10^5 intact cells/mL) in comparison to pasteurization (9.02 x 10^4 intact cells/mL), when compared to the control. Using a mixture of water types as inoculum might provide a better insight to bacterial growth potential in water due to a higher consumption of nutrients. BGP demonstrated to be a sensitive tool to test the performance of carbonfilters applied to remove chlorine and its applicability to evaluate the biological stability of RO produced chlorinated drinking water. The concentrations of magnesium chloride tested in this study did not have a significant effect on cell numbers.
Date made available2022
PublisherKAUST Research Repository

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