Biogeography of thermophiles and predominance of Thermus scotoductus in domestic water heaters

Regina L. Wilpiszeski, Zhidan Zhang, Christopher H. House

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Built systems such as water heaters can harbor extremophiles similar to those residing in natural hot springs, but the extent of colonization is not well understood. To address this, we conducted a survey of thermophilic microorganisms in household water heaters across the United States. Filter samples and inoculated cultures were collected by citizen-scientists from 101 homes. Draft genomes were assembled from cultured isolates and 16S rRNA genes were sequenced from filter samples. 28% of households harbored communities with unambiguous DNA signatures of thermophilic organisms, 36% of households provided viable inocula, and 21% of households had both. All of the recovered cultures as well as the community sequencing results revealed Thermus scotoductus to be the dominant thermophile in domestic water heaters, with a minority of water heaters also containing Meiothermus species and a few containing Aquificae. Sequence distance comparisons show that allopatric speciation does not appear to be a strong control on T. scotoductus distribution. Our results demonstrate that thermophilic organisms are widespread in hot tap water, and that Thermus scotoductus preferentially colonizes water heaters at the expense of local environmental Thermus strains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-132
Number of pages14
JournalExtremophiles
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 22 2019

Fingerprint

Thermus
Water
Natural Springs
Hot Springs
rRNA Genes
Genome
DNA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Medicine

Cite this

@article{e7d4badc10b24915a3fbc32081a32736,
title = "Biogeography of thermophiles and predominance of Thermus scotoductus in domestic water heaters",
abstract = "Built systems such as water heaters can harbor extremophiles similar to those residing in natural hot springs, but the extent of colonization is not well understood. To address this, we conducted a survey of thermophilic microorganisms in household water heaters across the United States. Filter samples and inoculated cultures were collected by citizen-scientists from 101 homes. Draft genomes were assembled from cultured isolates and 16S rRNA genes were sequenced from filter samples. 28{\%} of households harbored communities with unambiguous DNA signatures of thermophilic organisms, 36{\%} of households provided viable inocula, and 21{\%} of households had both. All of the recovered cultures as well as the community sequencing results revealed Thermus scotoductus to be the dominant thermophile in domestic water heaters, with a minority of water heaters also containing Meiothermus species and a few containing Aquificae. Sequence distance comparisons show that allopatric speciation does not appear to be a strong control on T. scotoductus distribution. Our results demonstrate that thermophilic organisms are widespread in hot tap water, and that Thermus scotoductus preferentially colonizes water heaters at the expense of local environmental Thermus strains.",
author = "Wilpiszeski, {Regina L.} and Zhidan Zhang and House, {Christopher H.}",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
day = "22",
doi = "10.1007/s00792-018-1066-z",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "23",
pages = "119--132",
journal = "Extremophiles",
issn = "1431-0651",
publisher = "Springer Japan",
number = "1",

}

Biogeography of thermophiles and predominance of Thermus scotoductus in domestic water heaters. / Wilpiszeski, Regina L.; Zhang, Zhidan; House, Christopher H.

In: Extremophiles, Vol. 23, No. 1, 22.01.2019, p. 119-132.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Biogeography of thermophiles and predominance of Thermus scotoductus in domestic water heaters

AU - Wilpiszeski, Regina L.

AU - Zhang, Zhidan

AU - House, Christopher H.

PY - 2019/1/22

Y1 - 2019/1/22

N2 - Built systems such as water heaters can harbor extremophiles similar to those residing in natural hot springs, but the extent of colonization is not well understood. To address this, we conducted a survey of thermophilic microorganisms in household water heaters across the United States. Filter samples and inoculated cultures were collected by citizen-scientists from 101 homes. Draft genomes were assembled from cultured isolates and 16S rRNA genes were sequenced from filter samples. 28% of households harbored communities with unambiguous DNA signatures of thermophilic organisms, 36% of households provided viable inocula, and 21% of households had both. All of the recovered cultures as well as the community sequencing results revealed Thermus scotoductus to be the dominant thermophile in domestic water heaters, with a minority of water heaters also containing Meiothermus species and a few containing Aquificae. Sequence distance comparisons show that allopatric speciation does not appear to be a strong control on T. scotoductus distribution. Our results demonstrate that thermophilic organisms are widespread in hot tap water, and that Thermus scotoductus preferentially colonizes water heaters at the expense of local environmental Thermus strains.

AB - Built systems such as water heaters can harbor extremophiles similar to those residing in natural hot springs, but the extent of colonization is not well understood. To address this, we conducted a survey of thermophilic microorganisms in household water heaters across the United States. Filter samples and inoculated cultures were collected by citizen-scientists from 101 homes. Draft genomes were assembled from cultured isolates and 16S rRNA genes were sequenced from filter samples. 28% of households harbored communities with unambiguous DNA signatures of thermophilic organisms, 36% of households provided viable inocula, and 21% of households had both. All of the recovered cultures as well as the community sequencing results revealed Thermus scotoductus to be the dominant thermophile in domestic water heaters, with a minority of water heaters also containing Meiothermus species and a few containing Aquificae. Sequence distance comparisons show that allopatric speciation does not appear to be a strong control on T. scotoductus distribution. Our results demonstrate that thermophilic organisms are widespread in hot tap water, and that Thermus scotoductus preferentially colonizes water heaters at the expense of local environmental Thermus strains.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85058113869&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85058113869&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s00792-018-1066-z

DO - 10.1007/s00792-018-1066-z

M3 - Article

C2 - 30536130

AN - SCOPUS:85058113869

VL - 23

SP - 119

EP - 132

JO - Extremophiles

JF - Extremophiles

SN - 1431-0651

IS - 1

ER -