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Occurrence of Ciprofloxacin-, Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole-, and Vancomycin-Resistant Bacteria in a Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant

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The occurrence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria was evaluated in aqueous samples obtained from a municipal wastewater treatment plant. Samples collected from the influent, clarifier effluent, and disinfected effluent were assayed for fecal coliforms, E. coli, and enterococci exhibiting resistance to ciprofloxacin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, and vancomycin. Membrane filtration of samples was followed by plating on growth media containing various concentrations of antibiotic. Bacterial colonies on plates with antibiotic exposures greater than the clinical minimum inhibitory concentrations were counted and considered resistant. The numbers of drug-resistant organisms in influent ranged from nondetectable to 7 × 10 5 colony-forming units (CFU)/100 mL for fecal coliforms, nondetectable to 5 × 10 4 CFU/100 mL for E. coli, and nondetectable to 6 × 10 5 CFU/100 mL for enterococci. Fecal coliforms, E. coli, and enterococci with reduced susceptibility to antibiotics were also detected in influent and clarifier effluent; however, the disinfected effluent did not contain resistant bacteria. Species-level identification of enterococci revealed that resistant enterococci were predominantly E. faecalis.
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Keywords: E. coli; antibiotic resistance; coliforms; enterococci; municipal wastewater

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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