Stimulation of 2-methylisoborneol (MIB) production by actinomycetes after cyclic chlorination in drinking water distribution systems

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6 Scopus citations


The impact of fluctuation in chlorine residual on actinomycetes and the production of 2-methylisoborneol (MIB) were studied in cast-iron and PVC model distribution systems. Actinomycetes were spiked in each system and continued operation for a 12-day non-chlorine experiment, resulting in no changes in actinomycetes and MIB concentrations. Three cyclic chlorination events were performed and chlorine residuals were maintained as follows: 1.0 mg L-1 for 24 h, 0 mg L-1 for 48 h, 0.5 mg L-1 for 48 h, 0 mg L-1 for 48 h and 2 mg L-1 for 24 h. After each chlorination event, 2-3 log decrease in actinomycetes was noted in both systems. However, within 48 h at 0 mg L-1 chlorine, the actinomycetes recovered to the pre-chlorination levels. On the contrary, MIB concentration in both systems remained un-impacted after the first cycle and increased by fourfold (< 5 to > 20 mg L-1) after the second cycle, which lasted through the third cycle despite the fact that actinomycetes numbers fluctuated 2-3 logs during this time period. For obtaining biofilm samples from field, water meters were collected from municipality drinking water distribution systems located in central Arizona. The actinomycetes concentration in asbestos cement pipe and cast iron pipe averaged 3.1 × 103 and 1.9 × 104 CFU cm-2, respectively. The study shows that production of MIB is associated with changes in chlorine residual in the systems. This is the first report of cyclic chlorine shock as a stimulus for MIB production by actinomycetes in drinking water distribution system's ecology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-371
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Environmental Science and Health - Part A Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 21 2015


  • Actinomycetes
  • drinking water distribution system
  • taste and odor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering


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