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Issue 4, 2016
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Characterising and understanding the impact of microbial biofilms and the extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) matrix in drinking water distribution systems

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Abstract

Drinking water quality deteriorates during transportation through drinking water distribution systems (DWDS). Microbial activity and ecology, particularly within biofilms that occur on the inner-pipe surface of DWDS, are emerging as important drivers in the degradation process. Yet, we have little real-world applicable understanding of the DWDS biofilms. This paper provides a critical discussion of current drinking water biofilm research, highlighting the importance of biofilms, including the extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) and their interactions with the physico-chemical environment. Evidence is presented that the tools for biofilm analysis are becoming more accessible and there is now the opportunity to translate microbial research from idealised bench-top settings to practical real-world applications. It is essential that we understand biofilms and manage them within ageing, deteriorating DWDS infrastructure to protect public health and wellbeing.

Graphical abstract: Characterising and understanding the impact of microbial biofilms and the extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) matrix in drinking water distribution systems

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Publication details

The article was received on 08 Feb 2016, accepted on 01 Apr 2016 and first published on 04 Apr 2016


Article type: Critical Review
DOI: 10.1039/C6EW00039H
Citation: Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol., 2016,2, 614-630
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
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    Characterising and understanding the impact of microbial biofilms and the extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) matrix in drinking water distribution systems

    K. E. Fish, A. M. Osborn and J. Boxall, Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol., 2016, 2, 614
    DOI: 10.1039/C6EW00039H

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