On the heels of SPL’s first U.S. trial of an onsite monochloramine generation system in a hospital hot water system, comes another study aimed at exploring how this particular Legionella disinfection technology changes the microbial ecology.

In March, the Sloan Foundation awarded a research grant to the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Enginneering researchers Kyle Bibby, PhD, and Janet E. Stout, PhD, to fund this four-month study. Researchers, using water samples taken during SPL’s monochloramine studies, will produce and analyze gene sequence libraries using PCR to discover shifts in ecology and diversity.

Changing the bacteria make up in a hospital water system could be of particular concern in hospitals in which immunpcompromised patients may not be protected by current drinking water standards. It is important to understand the impact of disinfection on the microbial ecology of building plumbing.

“This study is an ideal fit for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Microbiology and the Built Environment program,” says Dr. Stout. “It’s one step in advancing our understanding of what is happening in our water on a microbiological level that could have far reaching public health implications.”

The grant will also help support the work on this project of Julianne Baron, a PhD candidate at Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health, who holds an appointment at SPL. Her research in Legionella is focused on using PCR for DNA sequencing.