BIOFILMS Natural biofilms as high-tech conditioners for drinkingwater

Country: EU Projects
Start Date:           Duration: 36 months         Project Type: RTD
Contract Number: EVK1-CT-1999-00001
Organisation Type:  EC Project
Water and sanitation-->Water supply
Project objectives:
The project is divided into eight workpackages.    
The main aims of the workpackages are the construction of a dynamic model for the exchange of solutes and particles between autotrophic/heterotrophic biofims 
and water. - the description and localization of the basic architecture of biofilms with several tools (e.g. confocal microscopy). - the analysis of biofilm development and quantification of its capacity to trap particles from the water. - To quantify the budget of carbon production in biofilms by micro-algae and the carbon consumption by bacteria -the production of the odorous compound geosmin will be measured in an actual river system (Spain) and the seasonal occurrence will be correlated to biofilm
parameters to assess the causal factors for odour production. - the transformation and detoxification of key organic compounds will be tested using biofilms and an existing test battery of photometric and fluorometric
methods. - Changes in various stages of the processing of surface water into drinking water will be described using genetic methods (DGGE). - The transformation rate of the cyanotoxin microcystein through biofilms is measured in experiments. Microsystein is determined using HPLC with PDA detection.
Project Summary:
Potential Risks for the quality of drinking water are increasing urbanization and the exploitation of surface water of any quality due to water shortage. For 
the drinking water sector it is therefore imperative to improve environmental technologies that increase water quality prior to intense treatment. One of
the main ecological units of aquatic systems that affect water quality is the biofilm covering virtually all available wet surface on sediments, stones, water
plants etc. The research focus on biofilms in aquatic systems has a very strong potential to strengthen the conditioning of surface water to be used in drinking
water plants. The project is based on the co-action of four research-partners and drinking water companies associated with these partners. The specific objectives of the project are: 1. To develop a dynamic model for the exchange of solutes and particles between water and natural biofilms applicable to optimise the quality of water taken
in by drinking water plants. 2. To develop techniques for measuring the trapping of particles, detritus and hygienically relevant bacteria, in biofilms in different stages of autotrophy
and heterotrophy. 3. To develop techniques for measuring the positive and negative terms in the budget of organic solutes (DOC, cyanotoxins, odorous compounds) in natural
biofilms and biofilms in water plants. 4. To detect intermediates in the transformation of key compounds (test compound: micro-cystein) that are suspected to have health risks (cytotoxicity,
hepatotoxicity and immunotoxicity).
Achieved Objectives:
The aim of the project was the development of a new technology for the treatment of surface water. Main findings and application of the project were:    
- during the project the structure of biofilms was studied with confocal laser scanning microscopy.     
- the Geosmin production by cyanobacteria was studied.    
- biofilms can hinder the penetration of opportunistic bacteria into water treatment plants.    
- heterotrophic biofilms are a sink of dissolved of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), thus a reduction of DOC in raw water is possible    
-Biofilms dominated by algae have a strong capacity to trap particles, including opportunistic bacteria.    
-Community analysis of biofilms showed that bacteria were transferred during the purification process from surface water to drinking water. Some relevant 
bacterial taxa were found in finished water, finding shelter in biofilms - Biofilms harbour substances that respond in a battery of toxicity tests (e.g. tissue cultures). -A model simulating the growth of an autotrophic biofilm is expanding on earlier studies covering heterotrophic biofilms. - Pulse-fluorometric methods have been developed as a tool for the assessment of natural biofilm development upstream the processing plants. Exoenzymes proved useful to verify pollution with toxicants. -Biofilms degrade microcystin, a cyanobacterial toxin potentially invading the drinking water system.
Product Descriptions:
not public available 
Additional Information:

Project Resources:
Funding Programme(s): 
EC Framework Programme 5
Link to Organisations:
Submitted by: EUGRIS Team Dr Stefan Gödeke  Who does what?  04/12/2004 12:29:00
Updated by: EUGRIS Team Professor Paul Bardos  Who does what?  29/09/2006 15:51:00