Impact of Chloramination on the Development of Laboratory-Grown Biofilms Fed with Filter-Pretreated Groundwater

Fangqiong Ling, Wen-Tso Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This study evaluated the continuous impact of monochloramine disinfection on laboratory-grown biofilms through the characterization of biofilm architecture and microbial community structure. Biofilm development and disinfection were achieved using CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) biofilm reactor systems with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) coupons as the substratum and sand filter-pretreated groundwater as the source of microbial seeding and growth nutrient. After 2 weeks of growth, the biofilms were subjected to chloramination for 8 more weeks at concentrations of 7.5±1.4 to 9.1±0.4 mg Cl2 L-1. Control reactors received no disinfection during the development of biofilms. Confocal laser scanning microscopy and image analysis indicated that chloramination could lead to 81.4-83.5% and 86.3-95.6% reduction in biofilm biomass and thickness, respectively, but could not eliminate biofilm growth. 16S rRNA gene terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis indicated that microbial community structures between chloraminated and non-chloraminated biofilms exhibited different successional trends. 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing analysis further revealed that chloramination could select members of Actinobacteria and Acidobacteria as the dominant populations, whereas natural development leads to the selection of members of Nitrospira and Bacteroidetes as dominant biofilm populations. Overall, chloramination treatment could alter the growth of multi-species biofilms on the PVC surface, shape the biofilm architecture, and select a certain microbial community that can survive or proliferate under chloramination.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-57
Number of pages8
JournalMicrobes and Environments
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This work was supported by a joint program between KAUST and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, under a KAUST-Academic Excellence Alliance (AEA) Grant. Fangqiong Ling was supported by a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Graduate Fellowship.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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