Author(s): Marti E, Jofre J, Balcazar JL
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Abstract Antibiotic resistance represents a global health problem, requiring better understanding of the ecology of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs), their selection and their spread in the environment. Antibiotics are constantly released to the environment through wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents. We investigated, therefore, the effect of these discharges on the prevalence of ARGs and bacterial community composition in biofilm and sediment samples of a receiving river. We used culture-independent approaches such as quantitative PCR to determine the prevalence of eleven ARGs and 16S rRNA gene-based pyrosequencing to examine the composition of bacterial communities. Concentration of antibiotics in WWTP influent and effluent were also determined. ARGs such as qnrS, bla TEM, bla CTX-M, bla SHV, erm(B), sul(I), sul(II), tet(O) and tet(W) were detected in all biofilm and sediment samples analyzed. Moreover, we observed a significant increase in the relative abundance of ARGs in biofilm samples collected downstream of the WWTP discharge. We also found significant differences with respect to community structure and composition between upstream and downstream samples. Therefore, our results indicate that WWTP discharges may contribute to the spread of ARGs into the environment and may also impact on the bacterial communities of the receiving river.
This article was published in PLoS One
and referenced in Journal of Pollution Effects & Control