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Biofilm research within irrigation water distribution systems: Trends, knowledge gaps, and future perspectives

Yao, Yuan, Habimana, Olivier
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.673 pp. 254-265
biofilm, chemical pollutants, drinking water, experimental design, food safety, irrigated farming, irrigation water, pathogens, water distribution
Biofilms in irrigation water distribution systems (IWDSs) play an essential role in spreading pathogens, chemical pollutants, and environmental pollutants into downstream irrigated crops and thus should be considered a potential threat to food safety. Although the role of biofilms in drinking water distribution systems has been extensively studied in the last decade, the research on IWDS biofilms in this period has been limited. This review identifies research gaps in the field of IWDS biofilms, provides perspectives on experimental designs for investigating IWDS biofilms, and suggests potential strategies worth pursuing in IWDS management. The current state of the art of IWDS biofilms is discussed, and an analysis of the challenges in IWDS biofilm research is presented. Furthermore, this review proposes useful advanced technologies that allow a practical, in-depth fundamental understanding of IWDS biofilms. In a nutshell, this article provides future directions and insights into detailed experimental designs on a relatively under-reported research topic: “IWDS biofilms.”