Antibiotic resistance among aquatic bacteria in natural freshwater environments of Korea

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The taxonomic diversity and antibiotic resistance among freshwater bacterial communities in the major water bodies of Korea was examined using 437 penicillin-resistant, and 110 tetracycline-resistant bacterial isolates. Based on 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis, most isolates were assigned to Proteobacteria, which was then followed by Bacteroidetes. Strains of Aeromonas were found as the most abundant penicillin-resistant populations, whereas those affiliated to diverse species including enteric groups were found as the most abundant tetracycline-resistant populations. Most strains exhibited multiple antibiotic resistance, and all tested strains were resistant to penicillin and hygromycin. High levels of resistance were observed for antibiotics acting on cell wall synthesis, whereas low levels were for those acting on DNA replication or transcription in general. It is apparent from this study that penicillin resistance is widespread among environmental bacteria, although the antibiotic has been generally non-detectable in the environment. It is also likely from the taxonomic composition of the resistant communities that various sources including terrestrial animals and humans may contribute to antibiotic resistance in the freshwater environment.

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