Influence of Physicochemical Factors on Bacterial Communities Along the Lower Mekong River Assessed by Illumina Next-Generation Sequencing

Christopher Staley, Neelawan Pongsilp, Pongrawee Nimnoi, Thomas Kaiser, Michael J. Sadowsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The relationship between land use and microbial community structure at seven sites along the Lower Mekong River, between Thailand and the Loa People’s Democratic Republic, was investigated using Illumina next-generation sequencing of the V5–V6 hypervariable regions of the 16S rRNA gene. In total, 14,470 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were observed. Community composition was significantly different between sampling years. Moraxellaceae and Comamonadaceae were the predominant bacterial families in upstream sites, which included agricultural and urban areas in the Loei and Nong Khai provinces of Thailand. Members of the family Comamonadaceae were prevalent in agricultural and urban sites in Bueng Kan Province, while Moraxellaceae and Burkholderiaceae were the major families in a site downstream of an urban area in the Nakhon Phanom Province of Thailand. The bacterial community observed from a forested area of Patam National Park in Thailand showed greatest diversity, and several major bacterial families including Comamonadaceae, Moraxellaceae, and Pseudomonadaceae were more dominant than other sites. The diversity of fecal indicator bacteria, determined by ERIC-PCR DNA fingerprinting, indicated the presence of 29 strains of Escherichia coli and 21 strains of Enterococcus, while TP-RAPD patterns represented six species of Enterococcus. Results of this study indicated that although the difference in the distribution of bacterial phyla and families was found among sampling sites, the bacterial community composition, based on the presence of OTUs, continuously retained its signature across approximately 758 km along the Lower Mekong River, regardless of the type of land use. Water parameters, including temperature, turbidity, DO, and air temperature, also differentially affected the abundance of bacterial families along the Mekong River.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number321
JournalWater, Air, and Soil Pollution
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Bacterial community
  • Enterococcus
  • Escherichia coli
  • Illumina next-generation sequencing
  • Land use
  • Mekong River

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