Prevalence of Beta Lactamases Genes in Sewage and Sludge Treated in Mechanical-Biological Wastewater Treatment Plants
Wiktor Zieliński 1  
,  
Martyna Buta 1  
,  
Jakub Hubeny 1  
,  
Ewa Korzeniewska 1  
,  
Monika Harnisz 1  
,  
Monika Nowrotek 2  
,  
 
 
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1
Department of Environmental Microbiology, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, ul. R. Prawocheńskiego 1, 10-720 Olsztyn, Poland
2
Department of Environmental Microbiology, Institute for Ecology of Industrial Areas, ul. Kossutha 6, 40-844 Katowice, Poland
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Wiktor Zieliński   

Department of Environmental Microbiology, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, ul. R. Prawocheńskiego 1, 10-720 Olsztyn, Poland
Publish date: 2019-10-01
 
J. Ecol. Eng. 2019; 20(9):80–86
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ABSTRACT
Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are a very important link in the spread of antibiotic resistance genes to the environment and the formation of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms. Mechanical and biological methods of wastewater treatment in WWTPs do not completely remove resistance genes from sewage. The genes responsible for extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs) are very common in the family Enterobacteriaceae that colonize the human digestive tract and are abundant in wastewater. The aim of this study was to analyze the prevalence of genes encoding beta-lactamases in wastewater and sludge samples collected from two WWTPs in the Polish regions of Warmia and Silesia and from river water upstream and downstream from the WWTPs. Wastewater samples were passed through polycarbonate membrane filters, whereas sludge samples were homogenized, and genomic DNA was extracted. The blaTEM, blaOXA and blaSHV genes were detected by standard PCR. The most prevalent gene was blaTEM which occurred in all samples, including treated wastewater. The blaOXA gene was also frequently detected in all samples from the WWTP in Silesia. The blaSHV gene was least prevalent in the tested samples. These results indicate that wastewater is a hotspot for resistant bacteria. Beta-lactamase genes are not eliminated by in mechanical-biological wastewater treatment methods, and they can spread to other environments, thus increasing the pool of antibiotic resistance genes around the world and creating epidemiological risks.