Spatial Distribution and Controlling Factors on the Bacterial Abundance in the Indian Groundwaters

Research Article

Austin Environ Sci. 2021; 6(3): 1065.

Spatial Distribution and Controlling Factors on the Bacterial Abundance in the Indian Groundwaters

Rao DB1, Kumar BSK2*, Sudha Rani P3 and Meshram MP4

1Marine Chemistry Laboratory, Andhra University, India

2Department of Environmental Science, GITAM University, Visakhapatnam, India

3CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, RCVisakhapatnam, India

4CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur, India

*Corresponding author: Kumar BSK, Department of Environmental Science, GITAM University, Visakhapatnam, India

Received: September 28, 2021; Accepted: October 29, 2021; Published: November 05, 2021


Microbiology plays a vital role in groundwater quality. The bacterial distribution in groundwater mainly depends on various parameters like nutrient concentrations, availability of the organic matter, grazing pressure by protozoans and viral lysis. To examine the spatial distribution and the impact of biogeochemical parameters on bacterial distribution, groundwater samples are collected at 87 locations along the Indian coastal region during the monsoon. This study revealed E. coli O157:H7, Achromobacter sp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa are the most abundant bacteria. East coast groundwaters are more abundant with E. coli O157:H7 and west coast with Achromobacter sp. The total viable counts of bacteria showed significant linear positive relations with bacterial respiration rates pCO2 levels, TDCHO, TDFAA, and TDPRO and inverse relation with depth and DO saturation. Suggesting that the bacterial abundance and distribution mainly depending on organic matter availability. E. coli O157:H7 consumed more of TDCHO and TDFAA, and Achromobacter sp., more depend on DTPRO and Pseudomonas aeruginosa on TDCHO and TDPRO.

Keywords: Groundwater; Bacteria; E. coli; Monsoon; Carbohydrates; Amino acids; Proteins


Groundwater plays a vital role in human life, and it is one of the crucial sources of water for drinking and irrigation purposes. Since the last five decades, there have been drastic changes in the monsoonal pattern, and the precipitation decreases from year to year [1]. Because of this, the usage of groundwater enhanced dramatically. It is essential to know the groundwater’s geological, chemical, and biological components, especially microbiology (bacteria, virus, and fungus), vital in groundwater health [2]. According to the world health organization (WHO), nearly 3.4 million people die from water-related diseases [3]. Microbial contamination is also happening at the location where the density of people is more [4]. Some bacteria are noticed in groundwater, such as microbial contaminants, which are harmful to human health such as Escherichia coli, Clostridium, Campylobacter, Rhodococcus coprophilous, Enterococci, Arcobacter, Fecal streptococci, Archromobacter, Sulphite reducing Clostridia, Klebsiella, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa [5]. In addition to this, other significant sources of pathogenic microorganisms into surface or groundwater are from agricultural lands, mixing of domestic sewage, underground storage tanks, and unauthorized dumpsites [6]. Several factors influence the survival of microorganisms in groundwater, like pH, precipitation, soil moisture content, soil microflora, temperature, nature of organic carbon, amount of nutrients, dissolved oxygen levels [7]. Diarrhoea, Cholera, Typhoid, and Hepatitis A, are the most common diseases found in many developed and developing countries because of groundwater contamination [8]. From the above studies, it is clear that knowing about the microbiology of underground water is essential. However, very few studies are focused on microbial variability in Indian groundwater systems [9,10]. Therefore, we attempted to understand the qualitative structure of microorganisms (bacteria) in coastal groundwaters along the Indian coast and understand the impact of biogeochemical parameters on their distribution.

Materials and Methods

India has a very long coastline covering almost 7571km, including east and west coastal regions. There are nine major coastal states: West Bengal-WB, Odisha-OD, Andhra -Pradesh-AP, Tamil Nadu-TN, Kerala-KL, Karnataka-KA Goa-GA, Maharashtra-MH, and Gujarat- GJ, in which GJ has the highest coastline, 1256km. Groundwater samples have been collected from 87 wells along India’s east and west coast during the monsoon season (Figure 1).