The association of Cryptosporidium oocysts with biofilm communities can influence the propagation of this pathogen through both environmental systems and water treatment systems. We observed the capture and retention of C. parvum oocysts in Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms using laboratory flow cells. Biofilms were developed in two different growth media using two different strains of P. aeruginosa, a wild-type strain (PAO1) and a strain that overproduces the exopolysaccharide alginate (PDO300). Confocal laser-scanning microscopy was used in conjunction with image analysis to assess the structure of the biofilms prior to introducing oocysts into the flow cells. More oocysts were captured by the biofilm-coated surfaces than the abiotic glass surface in both media. There was no significant difference in capture across the two strains of P. aeruginosa biofilm, but the fraction of oocysts captured was positively related to biofilm roughness and surface-area-to-volume ratio. Once captured, oocysts were retained in the biofilm for more than 24 h and were not released after a 40-fold increase in the system flow rate. We believe the capture and retention of oocysts by biofilm communities can impact the environmental transmission of C. parvum, and this interaction should be taken into consideration when predicting the migration of pathogens in the environment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Science(all)