Limited influence of hospital wastewater on the microbiome and resistome of wastewater in a community sewerage system

Elena Buelow, Jumamurat R Bayjanov, Eline Majoor, Rob J L Willems, Marc J M Bonten, Heike Schmitt, Willem van Schaik

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Abstract

Effluents from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) have been proposed to act as point sources of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) and antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) in the environment. Hospital sewage may contribute to the spread of ARB and ARGs as it contains the feces and urine of hospitalized patients, who are more frequently colonized with multi-drug resistant bacteria than the general population. However, whether hospital sewage noticeably contributes to the quantity and diversity of ARGs in the general sewerage system has not yet been determined.Here, we employed culture-independent techniques, namely 16S rRNA gene sequencing and nanolitre-scale quantitative PCRs, to assess the role of hospital effluent as a point source of ARGs in the sewerage system, through comparing microbiota composition and levels of ARGs in hospital sewage with WWTP influent with and without hospital sewage.Compared to other sites, hospital sewage was richest in human-associated bacteria and contained the highest relative levels of ARGs. Yet, the relative abundance of ARGs was comparable in the influent of WWTPs with and without hospital sewage, suggesting that hospitals do not contribute importantly to the quantity and diversity of ARGs in the investigated sewerage system.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberfiy087
Number of pages9
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Volume94
Issue number7
Early online date14 May 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 May 2018

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