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The importance of nutrient ratios in determining elevations in geosmin synthase (geoA) and 2-MIB cyclase (mic) resulting in taste and odour events

Hooper, A.S., Kille, P. ORCID:, Watson, S.E., Christofides, S.R. and Perkins, R.G. ORCID: 2023. The importance of nutrient ratios in determining elevations in geosmin synthase (geoA) and 2-MIB cyclase (mic) resulting in taste and odour events. Water Research 232 , 119693. 10.1016/j.watres.2023.119693

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Geosmin synthase (geoA) and 2-MIB cyclase (mic) are key biosynthetic genes responsible for the production of taste and odour (T&O) compounds, geosmin and 2-MIB. These T&O compounds are becoming an increasing global problem for drinking water supplies. It is thought that geosmin and 2-MIB may be linked to, or exacerbated by, a variety of different environmental and nutrient triggers. However, to the best of our knowledge, no studies to date have evaluated the combined effects of seasonality, temperature, and nutrient concentrations on geoA and mic copy numbers in conjunction with T&O concentrations. In this study, environmental triggers behind geosmin and 2-MIB production were investigated in nine reservoirs across Wales, U.K. between July 2019 – August 2020. The abundance of geoA and mic were quantified through quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR). Temporal changes in geoA and geosmin concentrations revealed geoA to be an indicator of monthly geosmin concentrations, although only when geosmin concentrations exceeded 100 ng L−1. Model analysis of a reservoir with elevated geosmin concentrations revealed geoA to be significantly associated with mean temperature (p < 0.001) and the nutrients dissolved reactive silicate (p < 0.001), dissolved iron (p < 0.001), total inorganic nitrogen to phosphorous ratio (TIN:TP) (p < 0.001) and ammonium to nitrate ratio (NH4+:NO3−) (p < 0.001). Sulphate also demonstrated a significant positive linear relationship with geoA (p < 0.001). For mic analysis, NH4+:NO3− was significantly associated with mic (p < 0.05) and an association with dissolved reactive silicate was also observed (p = 0.084). Within this study we also report extreme variance in gene copy numbers between the study seasons. No consistent relationship could be determined for mic copy numbers mL−1 and 2-MIB (ng L−1). The findings from this study indicate that TIN:TP and NH4+:NO3− serve as good predictors for elevated geoA and mic, along with negative linear relationships observed for mean temperature and dissolved reactive silicate. Overall, our findings demonstrate the importance of nutrient concentrations, nutrient ratios and temperature for evidence based predictive capacity of taste and odour events in drinking water reservoirs.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0043-1354
Funders: NERC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 February 2023
Date of Acceptance: 31 January 2023
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2023 18:09

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