Posted: 10:48a.m. IST, August 11, 2012
London, August 11 (ANI): While water treatment facilities try to remove the hundreds of millions of bacteria that are present in it, encouraging some microbes to row could in turn benefit human health, a new study has claimed.
According to Lutgarde Raskin from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, workers at water treatment facilities across the US try to destroy all of the bacteria in drinking water with infusions of chlorine and other disinfectants but it is nearly impossible to achieve with the current technology.
The present approach also ignores the fact that the drinking water microbiome contains some bacteria that can be beneficial like nitrates that can contaminate drinking water could be converted by some bacteria into harmless nitrogen gas.
Raskin and her team suggest that encouraging the growth of these bacteria in drinking water could actually improve the quality and safety of the product.
For the study, the researchers analysed bacterial DNA in drinking water treated at municipal facilities in Ann Arbor between April and October 2010.
They wanted to work out exactly which bacteria were present, and what factors influenced the abundance of the various components of the bacterial community.
The researchers found that slightly altering the water's pH during the filtration process, or even changing how filters were cleaned, helped good bacteria outcompete more harmful microorganisms for the limited resources in the water.
It does no good to try to remove bacteria entirely, New Scientists quoted Raskin as saying.
We are suggesting that a few simple changes can be made that will give bacteria that are good for human health an edge over harmful competitors, she added.
The study has been published in Environmental Science and Technology. (ANI)