Characterization of the bacterial community in shower water before and after chlorination

Marjolein C. F. M. Peters, Maarten G. A. Keuten, Aleksandra Knezev, Mark C.M. van Loosdrecht, Johannes S. Vrouwenvelder, Luuk C. Rietveld, Merle K. de Kreuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Bathers release bacteria in swimming pool water, but little is known about the fate of these bacteria and potential risks they might cause. Therefore, shower water was characterized and subjected to chlorination to identify the more chlorine-resistant bacteria that might survive in a chlorinated swimming pool and therefore could form a potential health risk. The total community before and after chlorination (1 mg Cl2 L−1 for 30 s) was characterized. More than 99% of the bacteria in the shower water were Gram-negative. The dominant bacterial families with a relative abundance of ≥10% of the total (non-chlorinated and chlorinated) communities were Flavobacteriaceae (24–21%), Xanthomonadaceae (23–24%), Moraxellaceae (12–11%) and Pseudomonadaceae (10–22%). The relative abundance of Pseudomonadaceae increased after chlorination and increased even more with longer contact times at 1 mg Cl2L−1. Therefore, Pseudomonadaceae were suggested to be relatively more chlorine resistant than the other identified bacteria. To determine which bacteria could survive chlorination causing a potential health risk, the relative abundance of the intact cell community was characterized before and after chlorination. The dominant bacterial families in the intact community (non-chlorinated and chlorinated) were Xanthomonadaceae (21–17%) and Moraxellaceae (48–57%). Moraxellaceae were therefore more chlorine resistant than the other identified intact bacteria present.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-243
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Water and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 21 2017

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This study is part of the DIPool project in which the project partners are Delft University of Technology, Hellebrekers Technieken, Akzo Nobel Industrial Chemicals B.V., Van Remmen UV Techniek, Coram International B.V. and Sportfondsen Nederland B.V. In addition, the project was funded by communal subsidies from EFRO – Europees Fonds voor Regionale Ontwikkeling and GO – Gelderland & Overijssel, Gebundelde Innovatiekracht. The authors would like to thank all of the shower participants and Mr. Jansen and Mr. Boers for the characterization of the samples. Thanks to Ms. Jones and Ms. Friedman for reviewing the language and spelling.


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