Abstract

To understand distributions of opportunistic premise plumbing pathogens (OPPPs) and microbial community structures governed by sample location, pipe materials, water temperature, age of property and type of house, 29 biofilm samples obtained from faucets, pipes, and shower heads in different households in Singapore were examined using next-generation sequencing technology. Predictive functional profiling of the biofilm communities was also performed to understand the potential of uncultivated microorganisms in premise plumbing systems and their involvement in various metabolic pathways. Microbial community analysis showed Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Acidobacteria, Nitrospira, and Actinobacteria to be the most abundant phyla across the samples which was found to be significantly different when grouped by age of the properties, location, and the type of house. Meanwhile, opportunistic premise plumbing pathogens such as Mycobacterium, Citrobacter, Pseudomonas, Stenotrophomonas, and Methylobacterium were observed from the samples at 0.5% of the total reads. Functional prediction using 16S gene markers revealed the involvement of the biofilm communities in different metabolic pathways like nitrogen metabolism, biodegradation of xenobiotics, and bacterial secretion implying diverse functionalities that are yet to be studied in this environment. This study serves as a preliminary survey on the microbial communities harboring premise plumbing systems in a tropical region like Singapore.

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