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Drinking water biofilms

Significance of companion organisms in drinking water biofilms for the survival and reactivation of pathogens in the VBNC state

In the BMBF-Collaborative Project "Detection, Risk and Control of Transiently Incultivable Pathogens in Drinking Water Installation", a data base for the estimation of the risk of pathogenic bacteria in drinking water biofilms is to be created. The focus is in particular on the "viable but not culturable" (VBNC) state of microorganisms in oligotrophic habitats.

Subproject 6 examines the influence of typical drinking water biofilms from house installations on the behavior of water-relevant pathogens such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Legionella pneumophila. Special attention is given to the VBNC state, which makes the detection of microorganisms with classical culture techniques more difficult. The organisms show no cultivability in this state, but are still viable.

The aim of the subproject is to compare biofilms from pure and mixed populations of drinking water bacteria and pathogens. Interactions between the bacteria in the biofilm, which can lead to survival in or to the exit from the VBNC state, are investigated.

A species-specific assignment of activity parameters and vitality is carried out using various molecular and microbiological methods. The development and modification of the biofilm is documented with a confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM)


The project is funded by the BMBF

Zusatzinformationen / Extras

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Head of Chair

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Ulrich Szewzyk
sec. BH 6-1
Room BH-N 604
Tel +49 30 314 73 461

Consultation hours:
Wed 12:00 am - 1:00 pm