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Interactions of Cryptosporidium parvum, Giardia lamblia, Vaccinal Poliovirus Type 1, and Bacteriophages φX174 and MS2 with a Drinking Water Biofilm and a Wastewater Biofilm▿

By Karim Helmi, Sylvain Skraber, Christophe Gantzer, Raphaël Willame, Lucien Hoffmann and Henry-Michel Cauchie


Biofilms colonizing surfaces inside drinking water distribution networks may provide a habitat and shelter to pathogenic viruses and parasites. If released from biofilms, these pathogens may disseminate in the water distribution system and cause waterborne diseases. Our study aimed to investigate the interactions of protozoan parasites (Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia lamblia [oo]cysts) and viruses (vaccinal poliovirus type 1, φX174, and MS2) with two contrasting biofilms. First, attachment, persistence, and detachment of the protozoan parasites and the viruses were assessed with a drinking water biofilm. This biofilm was allowed to develop inside a rotating annular reactor fed with tap water for 7 months prior to the inoculation. Our results show that viable parasites and infectious viruses attached to the drinking water biofilm within 1 h and persisted within the biofilm. Indeed, infectious viruses were detected in the drinking water biofilm up to 6 days after the inoculation, while viral genome and viable parasites were still detected at day 34, corresponding to the last day of the monitoring period. Since viral genome was detected much longer than infectious particles, our results raise the question of the significance of detecting viral genomes in biofilms. A transfer of viable parasites and viruses from the biofilm to the water phase was observed after the flow velocity was increased but also with a constant laminar flow rate. Similar results regarding parasite and virus attachment and detachment were obtained using a treated wastewater biofilm, suggesting that our observations might be extrapolated to a wide range of environmental biofilms and confirming that biofilms can be considered a potential secondary source of contamination

Topics: Public Health Microbiology
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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