Author(s): Gatica J, Cytryn E
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Abstract The reuse of treated wastewater (TWW) for irrigation is a practical solution for overcoming water scarcity, especially in arid and semiarid regions of the world. However, there are several potential environmental and health-related risks associated with this practice. One such risk stems from the fact that TWW irrigation may increase antibiotic resistance (AR) levels in soil bacteria, potentially contributing to the global propagation of clinical AR. Wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents have been recognized as significant environmental AR reservoirs due to selective pressure generated by antibiotics and other compounds that are frequently detected in effluents. This review summarizes a myriad of recent studies that have assessed the impact of anthropogenic practices on AR in environmental bacterial communities, with specific emphasis on elucidating the potential effects of TWW irrigation on AR in the soil microbiome. Based on the current state of the art, we conclude that contradictory to freshwater environments where WWTP effluent influx tends to expand antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) and antibiotic-resistant genes levels, TWW irrigation does not seem to impact AR levels in the soil microbiome. Although this conclusion is a cause for cautious optimism regarding the future implementation of TWW irrigation, we conclude that further studies aimed at assessing the scope of horizontal gene transfer between effluent-associated ARB and soil bacteria need to be further conducted before ruling out the possible contribution of TWW irrigation to antibiotic-resistant reservoirs in irrigated soils.
This article was published in Environ Sci Pollut Res Int
and referenced in Pharmaceutica Analytica Acta