Antibiotic resistance genes in treated wastewater and in the receiving water bodies: a pan-European survey of urban settings

Cacace, Damiano, Fatta-Kassinos, Despo, Manaia, Celia M., Cytryn, Eddie, Kreuzinger, Norbert, Rizzo, Luigi, Karaolia, Popi, Schwartz, Thomas, Alexander, Johannes, Merlin, Christophe, Garelick, Hemda ORCID logoORCID:, Schmitt, Heike, de Vries, Daisy, Schwermer, Carsten U., Meric, Sureyya, Ozkal, Can Burak, Pons, Marie-Noelle, Kneis, David and Berendonk, Thomas U. (2019) Antibiotic resistance genes in treated wastewater and in the receiving water bodies: a pan-European survey of urban settings. Water Research, 162 . pp. 320-330. ISSN 1879-2448 [Article] (doi:10.1016/j.watres.2019.06.039)

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There is increasing public concern regarding the fate of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) during wastewater treatment, their persistence during the treatment process and their potential impacts on the receiving water bodies. In this study, we used quantitative PCR (qPCR) to determine the abundance of nine ARGs and a class 1 integron associated integrase gene in 16 wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents from ten different European countries. In order to assess the impact on the receiving water bodies, gene abundances in the latter were also analysed. Six out of the nine ARGs analysed were detected in all effluent and river water samples. Among the quantified genes, intI1 and sul1 were the most abundant. Our results demonstrate that European WWTP contribute to the enrichment of the resistome in the receiving water bodies with the particular impact being dependent on the effluent load and local hydrological conditions. The ARGs concentrations in WWTP effluents were found to be inversely correlated to the number of implemented biological treatment steps, indicating a possible option for WWTP management. Furthermore, this study has identified bla as a possible resistance gene for future studies investigating the impact of WWTPs on their receiving water. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.]

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): Antibiotic resistance genes, Europe, Freshwater, Wastewater, qPCR
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Natural Sciences
Item ID: 27174
Notes on copyright: ©2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
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Depositing User: Jisc Publications Router
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2019 11:39
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2022 13:24

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