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Lookup NU author(s): Marcos Quintela-Baluja,
Professor David Graham
This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by American Chemical Society, 2021.
For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
Urban wastewater systems (UWSs) are a main receptacle of excreted antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and their host microorganisms. However, we lack integrated and quantitative observations of the occurrence of ARGs in the UWS to characterize the sources and identify processes that contribute to their fate. We sampled the UWSs from three medium-size cities in Denmark, Spain, and the United Kingdom and quantified 70 clinically important extended-spectrum β-lactamase and carbapenemase genes along with the mobile genetic elements and microbial communities. Results from all three countries showed that sewage-especially from hospitals-carried substantial loads of ARGs (106-107 copies per person equivalent), but these loads progressively declined along sewers and through sewage treatment plants, resulting in minimal emissions (101-104 copies per person equivalent). Removal was primarily during sewage conveyance (65 ± 36%) rather than within sewage treatment (34 ± 23%). The extended-spectrum β-lactamase and carbapenemase genes were clustered in groups based on their persistence in the UWS compartments. The less-persistent groups were associated to putative host taxa (especially Enterobacteriaceae and Moraxellaceae), while the more persistent groups appeared horizontally transferred and correlated significantly with total cell numbers and mobile genetic elements. This documentation of a substantial ARG reduction during sewage conveyance provides opportunities for antibiotic resistance management and a caution for sewage-based antibiotic resistance surveillance.
Author(s): Li L, Nesme J, Quintela-Baluja M, Balboa S, Hashsham S, Williams MR, Yu Z, Sorensen SJ, Graham DW, Romalde JL, Dechesne A, Smets BF
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Environmental Science & Technology
Print publication date: 04/05/2021
Online publication date: 22/04/2021
Acceptance date: 09/04/2021
Date deposited: 18/06/2021
ISSN (print): 0013-936X
ISSN (electronic): 1520-5851
Publisher: American Chemical Society
PubMed id: 33886308
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