Isolation and characterization of haloacetic acid-degrading Afipia spp. from drinking water


  • Editor: Aharon Oren

Correspondence: Timothy M. LaPara, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455-0116, USA. Tel.: +1 612 624 6028; fax: +1 612 626 7750; e-mail:


Haloacetic acids are a class of disinfection byproducts formed during the chlorination and chloramination of drinking water that have been linked to several human health risks. In this study, we isolated numerous strains of haloacetic acid-degrading Afipia spp. from tap water, the wall of a water distribution pipe, and a granular activated carbon filter treating prechlorinated water. These Afipia spp. harbored two phylogenetically distinct groups of α-halocarboxylic acid dehalogenase genes that clustered with genes previously detected only by cultivation-independent methods or were novel and did not conclusively cluster with the previously defined phylogenetic subdivisions of these genes. Four of these Afipia spp. simultaneously harbored both the known classes of α-halocarboxylic acid dehalogenase genes (dehI and dehII), which is potentially of importance because these bacteria were also capable of biodegrading the greatest number of different haloacetic acids. Our results suggest that Afipia spp. have a beneficial role in suppressing the concentrations of haloacetic acids in tap water, which contrasts the historical (albeit erroneous) association of Afipia sp. (specifically Afipia felis) as the causative agent of cat scratch disease.