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Title:A flame from water
Author(s):Ling, Fangqiong
Subject(s):Civil and Environmental Engineering
Abstract:Bacteria that attach to surfaces can form biofilms, a multi-cellular entity in polymeric matrices produced by cells. Living in biofilms provides benefits such as physical barriers against hostile environments and social opportunities such as exchange of nutrients and coordinated behaviors. In fact, biofilm is the predominant form of bacterial life in many environments. One of such environments is the interior of drinking water networks. Even with the presence of disinfectants, diverse species of bacteria can persist under the shields of biofilm matrix. These bacteria are primarily non-pathogenic, yet they can be problematic under contamination scenarios, when intrusive pathogens can use biofilms as a haven. My research aims to elucidate the diversity of biofilm communities in water distribution networks and seek potentials of using them as a natural monitoring tool for waterborne disease prevention. My picture was taken after bacterial cells sourced from groundwater had formed biofilms and then persisted after months of disinfection. What is it like to sustain life under disinfection? Looking at this picture, one can see that cells, intact (green dots) or damaged (red dots), are embedded in an amorphous matrix (the blue signals) as biofilms. The biofilms are from water, but look like a flame.
Issue Date:2015
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Fangqiong Ling
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-04-23

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