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Metagenomic Analysis of Showerhead Biofilms from a Hospital in Ohio
Soto-Giron, J., J. W. Santo-Domingo, H. Ryu, M. Elk, AND K. Konstantinidis. Metagenomic Analysis of Showerhead Biofilms from a Hospital in Ohio. Presented at ASM Annual Meeting, #1402, Boston, MA, May 17 - 20, 2014.
The aim of this study was to identify the composition of microbial communities present in five showerheads from a hospital in Ohio using a whole-community shotgun metagenomic approach.
Background: The National Institute of Health estimated that 80% of human microbial infections are associated with biofilms. Although water supplies and hospital equipments are constantly treated with disinfectants, the presence of biofilms in these areas has been frequently observed. Methods: The aim of this study was to identify the composition of microbial communities present in five showerheads from a hospital in Ohio using a whole-community shotgun metagenomic approach. Results: The microbial community of all showerheads was predominantly composed of members of the Actinobacteria (especially mycobacteria) and Proteobacteria phyla, and secondarily of few members of Bacteriodetes and Firmicutes. Protein coding genes and 16S rRNA genes identified in assembled contigs suggested that the most abundant population was affiliated with a potentially novel Mycobacterium sp. species, most closely related to the opportunistic, nontuberculous mycobacteria M. rhodesiae and M. tusciae. This Mycobacterium sp. ranged in abundance between 33% and 74% of the total community, depending of the sample considered. Minor populations were affiliated with opportunistic pathogens most related to Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeurignosa, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Burkholderia cepacia and Staphylococcus aureus. Further, known virulence determinants such as adhesion proteins and proteins related to the transport of toxins and evasion of host's immune system were identified among less abundant bacteria. Several antibiotic resistance genes were also identified, such as those encoding for rifampin, tetracycline, clorobiocin, chloramphenicol, and trimethoprim resistance. Conclusions: Collectively, our results reveal that the microbial communities present in these hospital showers did not include highly virulent pathogens. However, the presence of opportunistic pathogens and virulence factors suggests that these biofilms are potential reservoirs of health hazards.