The unpleasant odor of drinking water is one of the major problems in many water utilities in the world. Actinomycetes have long been associated with odorous compounds. Considering the paucity of research on Actinomycetes producing odorous compounds in South Korea, presence of Actinomycetes, their molecular characteristics and ability to produce odorous compounds were investigated in this study. Findings confirmed the presence of Actinomycetes in surface soil, sediment, and water samples from four sites: two artificial lakes [Paldang and Cheongpyeong (CP)], and two streams [Gyeongan (GA) and Yangpyeong]. Surface soil and sediment from CP area had the greatest concentration of Actinomycetes (8.2 × 107 and 6.8 × 106 colony forming units (CFUs)/gram, dry weight, respectively). When water samples are considered, samples from GA had the highest concentration (1.9 × 102 CFU/mL). 16S rRNA sequencing and molecular phylogenetic analysis showed that Streptomyces was the dominant genus (64.1%). In addition, the isolated Actinomycetes synthesized 5.4 ng/L geosmin as demonstrated by thermal desorption unit-gas chromatograph/mass spectrometry analysis.

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