Diversity of fecal coliforms and their antimicrobial resistance patterns in wastewater treatment model plant

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The occurrence of resistance patterns among wastewater fecal coliforms was determined in the study. Susceptibility of the isolates was tested against 19 antimicrobial agents: aminoglycosides, aztreonam, carbapenems, cephalosporines, β-lactam/β-lactamase inhibitors, penicillines, tetracycline, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, and fluoroquinolones. Additionally the removal of resistant isolates was evaluated in the laboratory-scale wastewater treatment model plant (M-WWTP), continuously supplied with the wastewater obtained from the full-scale WWTP. Number of fecal coliforms in raw (after mechanical treatment) and treated wastewater, as well as in aerobic chamber effluent was determined using selective medium. The selected strains were identified and examined for antibiotic resistance using Phoenix Automated Microbiology System (BD Biosciences, USA). The strains were identified as Escherichia coli (n=222), Klebsiella pneumoniae ssp. ozaenae (n=9), and Pantoea agglomerans (n=1). The isolate of P. agglomerans as well as 48% of E. coli isolates were sensitive to all antimicrobials tested. The most frequent resistance patterns were found for ampicillin: 100% of K. pneumoniae ssp. ozaenae and 41% of E. coli isolates. Among E. coli isolates 12% was regarded as multiple antimicrobial resistant (MAR). In the studied M-WWTP, the applied activated sludge processes reduced considerably the number of fecal coliforms, but increased the ratio of antimicrobial-resistant E. coli isolates to sensitive ones, especially among strains with MAR patterns.

Keywords: antimicrobial resistance patterns, fecal coliforms, model treatment plant, wastewater

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