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Water Research
Vol. 131, 2018, Pages: 11-21

Pilot investigation on formation of 2,4,6-trichloroanisole via microbial O-methylation of 2,4,6-trichlorophenol in drinking water distribution system: An insight into microbial mechanism

Kejia Zhang, Cong Cao, Xinyan Zhou, Feifei Zheng, Youmin Sun, Zhengqing Cai, Jie Fu

College of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, Zhejiang, China.

Abstract

Taste & odor (T&O) problems in drinking water are always complained by customers. Recent studies have indicated biofilms in drinking water distribution system (DWDS) are always ignored as potential sources of T&O compounds. In this paper, the formation of 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (2,4,6-TCA), one of the dominant T&O compounds, was investigated in a pilot-scale DWDS. The addition of precursor 2,4,6-trichlorophenol (2,4,6-TCP) of 0.2 mg/L induced the formation of 2,4,6-TCA with a maximum yield of ∼400 ng/L, and the formation kinetics can be described by a pseudo-first-order kinetic model. Effects of water distribution factors such as pipe material, temperature, flow velocity, and residual chlorine on the formation of 2,4,6-TCA were evaluated, and the pipe material was found to have the most remarkable effect. Ductile iron and stainless steel pipes produced much more 2,4,6-TCA than polyethylene (PE) pipe. The biofilm microbial communities on the three types of pipe walls were then comprehensively analyzed by heterotrophic plate count and 16S rRNA/ITS1 genes high throughput sequencing. The links between the 2,4,6-TCA formation potential and the microbial activity in genus and enzymatic levels in DWDS have been revealed for the first time. According to the characteristics of microbial assemblages of producing 2,4,6-TCA, quorum-sensing (QS) bacterial signaling system and extracellular DNA (eDNA) may be two promising targets for biofilm treatment and 2,4,6-TCA control in DWDS.

Graphical abstract

Keywords: Microbial O-Methylation, 2,4,6-Trichloroanisole, Drinking water distribution system, Biofilm, Microbial community, O-Methyltransferase.

 
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