Author(s): Moura A, Henriques I, Ribeiro R, Correia A
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Abstract OBJECTIVES: To investigate the presence and distribution of integron-carrying bacteria from a slaughterhouse wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). METHODS: Enterobacteriaceae and aeromonads were isolated at different stages of the wastewater treatment process and screened for the presence of integrase genes by dot-blot hybridization. Integrase-positive strains were characterized in terms of phylogenetic affiliation, genetic content of integrons and antimicrobial resistance profiles. Plasmid location of some integrons was established by Southern-blot hybridization. Strains containing integron-carrying plasmids were selected for mating experiments. RESULTS: Integrase genes were present in all samples, including the final effluent. The global prevalence was determined to be 35\%, higher than in other aquatic environments. Forty-two integrase-positive isolates were further characterized. Nine distinct cassette arrays were found, containing genes encoding resistance to beta-lactams (bla(OXA-30)), aminoglycosides (aadA1, aadA2, aadA13, aadB), streptothricin (sat1, sat2), trimethoprim (dfrA1, dfrA12), a putative esterase (estX) and a protein with unknown function (orfF). Gene cassette arrays aadA1, dfrAI-aadA1 and estX-sat2-aadA1 were common to aeromonads and Enterobacteriaceae. The class 2 integron containing an estX-sat2-aadA1 cassette array was detected for the first time in Aeromonas sp. Nearly 12\% (5 out of 43) of intI genes were located in plasmids. intI genes from isolates MM.1.3 and MM.1.5 were successfully conjugated into Escherichia coli at frequencies of 3.79 x 10(-5) and 5.46 x 10(-5) per recipient cell, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Our data support the hypothesis that WWTPs constitute a potential hot spot for horizontal gene transfer and for selection of antimicrobial resistance genes among aquatic bacteria. Moreover, water discharges represent a possible risk for dissemination of undesirable genetic traits.
This article was published in J Antimicrob Chemother
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation