Dr. Catherine Paul
Prof. Peter Rådström
Water is by far the most consumed food and it is essential that healthy, safe drinking water (DW) is continuously produced and delivered for a well-functioning society. Biofilm communities in the biofilters of waterworks and DW distribution system constitute a complex living biosensor for communicating the safety and quality of DW. Biofilms in active carbon filters, infiltration ponds, rapid sand filters, slow sand filters and distribution systems degrade organic carbon, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, naturally occurring toxins and other undesirable chemicals and microbes via natural in situ bioremediation. It is unclear how resilient these biofilm ecosystems are to external perturbations. Biofilms potentially constitute a genetic reservoir of virulence and antibiotic resistance which if assimilated by pathogens could create an emerging health threat. The aim of this project is to elucidate the contents, function and resilience of DW biofilms to better understand how the delivery of safe drinking water can be secured.