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Multiresistant opportunistic pathogenic bacteria isolated from polluted rivers and first detection of nontuberculous mycobacteria in the Algerian aquatic environment

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Opportunistic infections constitute a major challenge for modern medicine mainly because the involved bacteria are usually multiresistant to antibiotics. Most of these bacteria possess remarkable ability to adapt to various ecosystems, including those exposed to anthropogenic activities. This study isolated and identified 21 multiresistant opportunistic bacteria from two polluted rivers, located in Algiers. Cadmium, lead, and copper concentrations were determined for both water samples to evaluate heavy metal pollution. High prevalence of Enterobacteria and non-fermentative Gram-negative rods was found and a nontuberculous Mycobacterium (NTM) strain was isolated. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first detection of NTM in the Algerian environment. The strains were tested for their resistance against 34 antibiotics and 8 heavy metals. Multiple antibiotics and heavy metals resistance was observed in all isolates. The two most resistant strains, identified as Acinetobacter sp. and Citrobacter freundii, were submitted to plasmid curing to determine if resistance genes were plasmid or chromosome encoded. Citrobacter freundii strain P18 showed a high molecular weight plasmid which seems to code for resistance to zinc, lead, and tetracycline, at the same time. These findings strongly suggest that anthropized environments constitute a reservoir for multiresistant opportunistic bacteria and for circulating resistance genes.

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