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Effects of UV disinfection on phenotypes and genotypes of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in secondary effluent from a municipal wastewater treatment plant



Effects of UV disinfection on phenotypes and genotypes of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in secondary effluent from a municipal wastewater treatment plant



Water Research 157: 546-554



To elucidate the effects of UV disinfection on antibiotic resistance in biologically-treated wastewater, we investigated the antibiotic resistance profiles, species of cultivable heterotrophic bacteria, and antibiotic-resistance genes (ARGs) in antibiotic-resistant bacteria before and after treatment. UV disinfection greatly changed the bacterial community structure and the antibiotic resistance in wastewater. The antibiotic resistance in wastewater samples was strongly associated with the bacterial community. The proportions of Gram-positive bacteria gradually increased with increasing UV fluence. The proportions of bacteria resistant to cephalexin, penicillin, and vancomycin all greatly decreased after UV treatment in both sampling events (July 2018 and January 2019), and those for bacteria resistant to ofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, and sulfadiazine increased, resulting from the alternative antibiotic resistance profiles among different genera. UV disinfection induced the selection of multi-antibiotic resistant (MAR) bacteria. For example, the MAR indices of Aeromonas, the dominant genus during the treatments, were significantly increased after UV irradiation (P < 0.05). The MAR index was also markedly increased (P < 0.05) at a fluence of 5 mJ/cm2 in both events. In UV10 treatment, the bacterial community structure was greatly changed. The genera with relatively low MAR indices replaced that with high MAR indices, and became the dominant genera. As a result, the MAR indices of treated samples showed a decreased trend after 10 mJ/cm2 UV irradiation. The detection frequencies of ARGs located on the chromosome varied mainly due to the evolution of the microbial community. The occurrence of ARGs (tetA, tetC, tetM, tetW, tetX, and sul1) located on plasmid DNA decreased after UV disinfection, and the average detection frequencies of tet and sul genes decreased by 15% and 6%, respectively (P < 0.05). Generally speaking, the effect of UV disinfection on the enrichment of antibiotic resistance is limited in this study, and horizontal gene transfer via the plasmids in surviving bacteria might be impaired due to the decreased abundance of ARGs on the plasmids.

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Accession: 066696481

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PMID: 30991178

DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2019.03.079


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