All you germaphobes, you might not want to read this: Boosting bacteria in drinking water may improve health – health – 10 August 2012 – New Scientist. Or the post here at the microBEnet blog a few days ago from David Coil about this same topic.
The article discusses a paper from Lutgarde Raskin’s group at U. Michigan. The paper apparently discusses possible ways to manipulate the microbial content of drinking water – such as to increase the abundance of some microbes to somehow outcompete microbes that are bad for us. I am skeptical of the claims – not that they are impossible – but more that this would be a very tricky operation. Nice if they can do it. But probably very tricky and risky.
Alas, I don’t actually know exactly what they are proposing. Why? Because their paper is in some American Chemical Society journal I do not have access to. Here’s a general suggestion though: if you want to influence public health and get people to purposefully put bacteria into drinking water and get the public’s approval for such actions, you might want to not live in some ivory tower where only other academics can read your work. I for one am not interested in paying $35 for 48 hour access to your paper. Ridiculous.