Characterization of the bacterial community in shower water before and after chlorination

Marjolein C.F.M. Peters*, Maarten G.A. Keuten, Aleksandra Knezev, Mark C.M. Van Loosdrecht, Johannes S. Vrouwenvelder, Luuk C. Rietveld, Merle K. de Kreuk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Bathers release bacteria in swimming pool water, but little is known about the fate of these bacteria and potential risks they might cause. Therefore, shower water was characterized and subjected to chlorination to identify the more chlorine-resistant bacteria that might survive in a chlorinated swimming pool and therefore could form a potential health risk. The total community before and after chlorination (1 mg Cl2 L1 for 30 s) was characterized. More than 99% of the bacteria in the shower water were Gram-negative. The dominant bacterial families with a relative abundance of 10% of the total (non-chlorinated and chlorinated) communities were Flavobacteriaceae (24–21%), Xanthomonadaceae (23–24%), Moraxellaceae (12–11%) and Pseudomonadaceae (10–22%). The relative abundance of Pseudomonadaceae increased after chlorination and increased even more with longer contact times at 1 mg Cl2 L1. Therefore, Pseudomonadaceae were suggested to be relatively more chlorine resistant than the other identified bacteria. To determine which bacteria could survive chlorination causing a potential health risk, the relative abundance of the intact cell community was characterized before and after chlorination. The dominant bacterial families in the intact community (non-chlorinated and chlorinated) were Xanthomonadaceae (21–17%) and Moraxellaceae (48–57%). Moraxellaceae were therefore more chlorine resistant than the other identified intact bacteria present.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-243
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Water and Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Bacterial population
  • Characterization
  • Chlorine resistance
  • Grey water


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