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Biofilms on Hospital Shower Hoses: Characterization and Implications for Nosocomial Infections
Soto-Giron, M., L. Rodriguez, C. Luo, M. Elk, H. Ryu, J. Hoelle, J. Santodomingo, AND K. Konstantinidis. Biofilms on Hospital Shower Hoses: Characterization and Implications for Nosocomial Infections. APPLIED AND ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY. American Society for Microbiology, Washington, DC, 82(9):2872-2883, (2016).
The aim of this study was to characterize the composition of microbial communities growing on five hospital shower hoses using both culture-dependent and culture-independent techniques.
Although the source of drinking water used in hospitals is commonly, biofilms on water pipelines are refuge to bacteria that survive different disinfection strategies. Drinking water (DW) biofilms are well known to harbor opportunistic pathogens, however, these biofilm communities remain poorly characterized by culture-independent approaches that circumvent the limitations of conventional monitoring efforts. Hence, the frequency of pathogens in DW biofilms and how biofilm members withstand high doses of disinfectants and/or chlorine residuals in the water supply remain speculative, but directly impact public health. The aim of this study was to characterize the composition of microbial communities growing on five hospital shower hoses using both culture-dependent and culture-independent techniques. Two different sequence-based methods were used to characterize the bacterial fractions: 16S rRNA gene sequencing of bacterial cultures and next generation sequencing of metagenomes. Based on the metagenomic data, we found that Mycobacterium-like species was the abundant bacterial taxa that overlapped among the five samples. We also recovered the draft genome of a novel Mycobacterium species, closely related to opportunistic pathogenic nontuberculous mycobacteria, M. rhodesiae and M. tusciae, in addition to other, less abundant species. In contrast, the cultured fraction was mostly affiliated to Proteobacteria, such as members of the Sphingomonas, Blastomonas and Porphyrobacter genera. The biofilm community harbored copious genes related to disinfectant tolerance and lower abundances of virulence determinants related to colonization and evasion of the host immune system. Several copies of genes potentially conferring resistance to beta-lactam, aminoglycoside, amphenicol and quinolone antibiotics were also detected. Collectively, our results underscore the need for understanding the genetic network of DW biofilms using metagenomic approaches. This information could lead to more robust management practices that minimize risks associated with exposure to opportunistic pathogens and pathogenicity genes in hospitals.