Characterization of Antimicrobial Resistant Bacteria in Different Stages of a Wastewater Treatment Facility
Authors: Karen Sem, Katherine Y. Deliz Quiñones, PhD
Faculty Mentor: Katherine Y. Deliz Quiñones, PhD
College: Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering
Most secondary and tertiary treatments currently implemented in wastewater treatment facilities (WWTFs) remove chemical and biological pollutants but may select for antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in surviving species. Reuse of reclaimed water and biosolids can propagate drug resistance genes throughout the environment, threatening public health and food security. The effect of different treatment stages on AMR selection can be determined by assisting changes in the occurrence and abundance of ARB in each stage of a facility. In this study, wastewater samples were collected from a WWTF receiving water from residential, research, and clinical facilities. Bacterial groups isolated from wastewater inoculated on selective and differential agar plates were characterized by morphology and biochemical tests and exposed to inhibitory concentrations of antibiotics to test for resistance. Most bacterial groups present throughout all stages of treatment were facultatively anaerobic and had decreased susceptibility to broad-spectrum antibiotics. This information can contribute to the development of more effective treatments and management strategies that target the removal of these emerging contaminants from wastewater.
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