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In this study, 145 bacterial isolates were obtained from 54 holy water samples and analyzed with the MALDI Biotyper system (Table 1). For 63 isolates (43%), identification scores ≥1.7 were obtained, allowing secure genus identification. For 39 isolates (27%) the identification scores were ≥1.9, and allowed probable species identification (Khot et al. 2012). Based on the identification results, the aerobic cultivable holy water microbiota was dominated by the three bacterial phyla Firmicutes, Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria, which also represented 94% of all phylotypes identified in a large-scale molecular study on the human hand microbiota (Fierer et al. 2008). The holy water microbiota was dominated by Gram-positive bacteria usually associated with humans, in particular staphylococci (30 out of 63 identified isolates, 47%). Characteristic environmental, water-borne bacteria, such as Sphingobium spp., were found less frequently.

Table 1

Bacterial isolates obtained from holy water samples and identified by MALDI Biotyping with identification scores ≥1.7 (genus level; n = 63) and ≥1.9 (species level; n = 39)

PhylumFamilyGenusSpeciesFrequency
Firmicutes Staphylococcaceae Staphylococcus sp. 
      epidermidisa 
      warneri 
      pettenkoferia 
      aureusa 
      hominisa 
      cohnii 
      auricularis 
      pasteuria 
      capitis 
  Bacillaceae Bacillus cereusa 
  Enterococcaceae Enterococcus faecalisa 
Actinobacteria Micrococcaceae Micrococcus luteus 
    Kocuria kistinae 
    Rothia sp. 
  Actinomycetaceae Actinomyces orisa 
Proteobacteria Moraxellaceae Acinetobacter sp. 
      johnsoniia 
  Pseudomonadaceae Pseudomonas sp. 
  Comamonadaceae Comamonas sp. 
      testosteroni 
    Acidovorax sp. 
  Neisseriaceae Neisseria perflava 
  Burkholderiaceae Cupriavidus sp. 
  Sphingomonadaceae Sphingobium sp. 
      xenophagum 
  Enterobacteriaceae Leclercia sp. 
    Enterobacter hormaecheia 
  Oxalobacteraceae Massilia timonae 
  Caulobacteraceae Brevundimonas sp. 
PhylumFamilyGenusSpeciesFrequency
Firmicutes Staphylococcaceae Staphylococcus sp. 
      epidermidisa 
      warneri 
      pettenkoferia 
      aureusa 
      hominisa 
      cohnii 
      auricularis 
      pasteuria 
      capitis 
  Bacillaceae Bacillus cereusa 
  Enterococcaceae Enterococcus faecalisa 
Actinobacteria Micrococcaceae Micrococcus luteus 
    Kocuria kistinae 
    Rothia sp. 
  Actinomycetaceae Actinomyces orisa 
Proteobacteria Moraxellaceae Acinetobacter sp. 
      johnsoniia 
  Pseudomonadaceae Pseudomonas sp. 
  Comamonadaceae Comamonas sp. 
      testosteroni 
    Acidovorax sp. 
  Neisseriaceae Neisseria perflava 
  Burkholderiaceae Cupriavidus sp. 
  Sphingomonadaceae Sphingobium sp. 
      xenophagum 
  Enterobacteriaceae Leclercia sp. 
    Enterobacter hormaecheia 
  Oxalobacteraceae Massilia timonae 
  Caulobacteraceae Brevundimonas sp. 

aSpecies categorized as risk group 2 (BAuA 2015).

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