Environmental and Public Health Implications of Water Reuse: Antibiotics, Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria, and Antibiotic Resistance Genes
KAUST DepartmentEnvironmental Science and Engineering Program
Water Desalination and Reuse Research Center (WDRC)
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AbstractWater scarcity is a global problem, and is particularly acute in certain regions like Africa, the Middle East, as well as the western states of America. A breakdown on water usage revealed that 70% of freshwater supplies are used for agricultural irrigation. The use of reclaimed water as an alternative water source for agricultural irrigation would greatly alleviate the demand on freshwater sources. This paradigm shift is gaining momentum in several water scarce countries like Saudi Arabia. However, microbial problems associated with reclaimed water may hinder the use of reclaimed water for agricultural irrigation. Of particular concern is that the occurrence of antibiotic residues in the reclaimed water can select for antibiotic resistance genes among the microbial community. Antibiotic resistance genes can be associated with mobile genetic elements, which in turn allow a promiscuous transfer of resistance traits from one bacterium to another. Together with the pathogens that are present in the reclaimed water, antibiotic resistant bacteria can potentially exchange mobile genetic elements to create the “perfect microbial storm”. Given the significance of this issue, a deeper understanding of the occurrence of antibiotics in reclaimed water, and their potential influence on the selection of resistant microorganisms would be essential. In this review paper, we collated literature over the past two decades to determine the occurrence of antibiotics in municipal wastewater and livestock manure. We then discuss how these antibiotic resistant bacteria may impose a potential microbial risk to the environment and public health, and the knowledge gaps that would have to be addressed in future studies. Overall, the collation of the literature in wastewater treatment and agriculture serves to frame and identify potential concerns with respect to antibiotics, antibiotic resistant bacteria, and antibiotic resistance genes in reclaimed water.
CitationEnvironmental and Public Health Implications of Water Reuse: Antibiotics, Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria, and Antibiotic Resistance Genes 2013, 2 (3):367 Antibiotics
- The potential implications of reclaimed wastewater reuse for irrigation on the agricultural environment: The knowns and unknowns of the fate of antibiotics and antibiotic resistant bacteria and resistance genes - A review.
- Authors: Christou A, Agüera A, Bayona JM, Cytryn E, Fotopoulos V, Lambropoulou D, Manaia CM, Michael C, Revitt M, Schröder P, Fatta-Kassinos D
- Issue date: 2017 Oct 15
- Occurrence of vancomycin-resistant and -susceptible Enterococcus spp. in reclaimed water used for spray irrigation.
- Authors: Carey SA, Goldstein RE, Gibbs SG, Claye E, He X, Sapkota AR
- Issue date: 2016 May
- Removal of bacterial contaminants and antibiotic resistance genes by conventional wastewater treatment processes in Saudi Arabia: Is the treated wastewater safe to reuse for agricultural irrigation?
- Authors: Al-Jassim N, Ansari MI, Harb M, Hong PY
- Issue date: 2015 Apr 15
- Impacts of reclaimed water irrigation on soil antibiotic resistome in urban parks of Victoria, Australia.
- Authors: Han XM, Hu HW, Shi XZ, Wang JT, Han LL, Chen D, He JZ
- Issue date: 2016 Apr
- Viability of increasing the tariff of freshwater for irrigation as a tool to stimulate wastewater reuse in the MENA region.
- Authors: Abu-Madi M, Al-Sa'ed R, Braadbaart O, Alaerts G
- Issue date: 2008
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Removal of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes affected by varying degrees of fouling on anaerobic microfiltration membranesCheng, Hong; Hong, Pei-Ying (American Chemical Society (ACS), 2017-09-28)An anaerobic membrane bioreactor was retrofitted with polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) microfiltration membrane units, each of which was fouled to a different extent. The membranes with different degrees of fouling were evaluated for their efficiencies in removing three antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB), namely, blaNDM-1-positive Escherichia coli PI-7, blaCTX-M-15-positive Klebsiella pneumoniae L7, and blaOXA-48-positive E. coli UPEC-RIY-4, as well as their associated plasmid-borne antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). The results showed that the log removal values (LRVs) of ARGs correlated positively with the extent of membrane fouling and ranged from 1.9 to 3.9. New membranes with a minimal foulant layer could remove more than 5 log units of ARB. However, as the membranes progressed to subcritical fouling, the LRVs of ARB decreased at increasing operating transmembrane pressures (TMPs). The LRV recovered back to 5 when the membrane was critically fouled, and the achieved LRV remained stable at different operating TMPs. Furthermore, characterization of the surface attributed the removal of both the ARB and ARGs to adsorption, which was facilitated by an increasing hydrophobicity and a decreasing surface ζ potential as the membranes fouled. Our results indicate that both the TMP and the foulant layer synergistically affected ARB removal, but the foulant layer was the main factor that contributed to ARG removal.
Reusing Treated Wastewater: Consideration of the Safety Aspects Associated with Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria and Antibiotic Resistance GenesHong, Pei-Ying; Julian, Timothy; Pype, Marie-Laure; Jiang, Sunny; Nelson, Kara; Graham, David; Pruden, Amy; Manaia, Célia (MDPI AG, 2018-02-27)As more countries engage in water reuse, either intended or de facto, there is an urgent need to more comprehensively evaluate resulting environmental and public health concerns. While antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) are increasingly coming under the spotlight, as emerging contaminants, existing water reuse regulations and guidelines do not adequately address these concerns. This perspectives paper seeks to frame the various challenges that need to be resolved to identify meaningful and realistic target types and levels of antibiotic resistance benchmarks for water reuse. First, there is the need for standardized and agreed-upon methodologies to identify and quantify ARB and ARGs. Second, even if methodologies are available, identifying which ARB and ARGs to monitor that would best relate to the occurrence of disease burden remains unknown. Third, a framework tailored to assessing the risks associated with ARB and ARGs during reuse is urgently needed. Fourth, similar to protecting drinking water sources, strategies to prevent dissemination of ARB and ARGs via wastewater treatment and reuse are required to ensure that appropriate barriers are emplaced. Finally, current wastewater treatment technologies could benefit from modification or retrofit to more effectively remove ARB and ARGs while also producing a high quality product for water and resource recovery. This perspectives paper highlights the need to consider ARB and ARGs when evaluating the overall safety aspects of water reuse and ways by which this may be accomplished.
Whole genome sequencing reveals genomic heterogeneity and antibiotic purification in Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolatesBlack, PA; de Vos, M.; Louw, GE; van der Merwe, RG; Dippenaar, A.; Streicher, EM; Abdallah, A. M.; Sampson, SL; Victor, TC; Dolby, T.; Simpson, JA; van Helden, PD; Warren, RM; Pain, Arnab (Springer Nature, 2015-10-24)Background Whole genome sequencing has revolutionised the interrogation of mycobacterial genomes. Recent studies have reported conflicting findings on the genomic stability of Mycobacterium tuberculosis during the evolution of drug resistance. In an age where whole genome sequencing is increasingly relied upon for defining the structure of bacterial genomes, it is important to investigate the reliability of next generation sequencing to identify clonal variants present in a minor percentage of the population. This study aimed to define a reliable cut-off for identification of low frequency sequence variants and to subsequently investigate genetic heterogeneity and the evolution of drug resistance in M. tuberculosis. Methods Genomic DNA was isolated from single colonies from 14 rifampicin mono-resistant M. tuberculosis isolates, as well as the primary cultures and follow up MDR cultures from two of these patients. The whole genomes of the M. tuberculosis isolates were sequenced using either the Illumina MiSeq or Illumina HiSeq platforms. Sequences were analysed with an in-house pipeline. Results Using next-generation sequencing in combination with Sanger sequencing and statistical analysis we defined a read frequency cut-off of 30 % to identify low frequency M. tuberculosis variants with high confidence. Using this cut-off we demonstrated a high rate of genetic diversity between single colonies isolated from one population, showing that by using the current sequencing technology, single colonies are not a true reflection of the genetic diversity within a whole population and vice versa. We further showed that numerous heterogeneous variants emerge and then disappear during the evolution of isoniazid resistance within individual patients. Our findings allowed us to formulate a model for the selective bottleneck which occurs during the course of infection, acting as a genomic purification event. Conclusions Our study demonstrated true levels of genetic diversity within an M. tuberculosis population and showed that genetic diversity may be re-defined when a selective pressure, such as drug exposure, is imposed on M. tuberculosis populations during the course of infection. This suggests that the genome of M. tuberculosis is more dynamic than previously thought, suggesting preparedness to respond to a changing environment.