Sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) are one of the main protagonist groups of biocorrosion in the seawater environment. Given their principal role in biocorrosion, it remains a crucial task to develop strategies to reduce the abundance of SRBs. Conventional approaches include the use of biocides and antibiotics, which can impose health, safety, and environmental concerns. This review examines an alternative approach to this problem. This is achieved by reviewing the role of quorum sensing (QS) in SRB populations and its impact on the biofilm formation process. Genome databases of SRBs are mined to look for putative QS systems and homologous protein sequences representative of autoinducer receptors or synthases. Subsequently, this review puts forward the potential use of quorum quenchers as natural biocides against SRBs and outlines the potential strategies for the implementation of this approach.
Water 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.
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