Sensitivity of antibiotic resistant and antibiotic susceptible Escherichia coli, Enterococcus and Staphylococcus strains against ozone

Heß, S.; Gallert, C.

Journal of Water and Health 13(4): 1020-1028


ISSN/ISBN: 1477-8920
PMID: 26608763
DOI: 10.2166/wh.2015.291
Accession: 058827882

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Tolerance of antibiotic susceptible and antibiotic resistant Escherichia coli, Enterococcus and Staphylococcus strains from clinical and wastewater samples against ozone was tested to investigate if ozone, a strong oxidant applied for advanced wastewater treatment, will affect the release of antibiotic resistant bacteria into the aquatic environment. For this purpose, the resistance pattern against antibiotics of the mentioned isolates and their survival after exposure to 4 mg/L ozone was determined. Antibiotic resistance (AR) of the isolates was not correlating with higher tolerance against ozone. Except for ampicillin resistant E. coli strains, which showed a trend towards increased resistance, E. coli strains that were also resistant against cotrimoxazol, ciprofloxacin or a combination of the three antibiotics were similarly or less resistant against ozone than antibiotic sensitive strains. Pigment-producing Enterococcus casseliflavus and Staphylococcus aureus seemed to be more resistant against ozone than non-pigmented species of these genera. Furthermore, aggregation or biofilm formation apparently protected bacteria in subsurface layers from inactivation by ozone. The relatively large variance of tolerance against ozone may indicate that resistance to ozone inactivation most probably depends on several factors, where AR, if at all, does not play a major role.