Navigation Links
Bacteria create aquatic superbugs in waste treatment plants
Date:5/12/2009

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---For bacteria in wastewater treatment plants, the stars align perfectly to create a hedonistic mating ground for antibiotic-resistant superbugs eventually discharged into streams and lakes.

In the first known study of its kind, Chuanwu Xi of the University of Michigan School of Public Health and his team sampled water containing the bacteria Acinetobacter at five sites in and near Ann Arbor's wastewater treatment plant.

They found the so-called superbugs---bacteria resistant to multiple antibiotics---up to 100 yards downstream from the discharge point into the Huron River. Xi stresses that while the finding may be disturbing, it is important to understand that much work is still needed to assess what risk, if any, the presence of superbugs in aquatic environments poses to humans.

"We still need to understand the link between aquatic and human multiple drug resistant bacteria," said Xi, assistant professor of public health.

Xi and colleagues found that while the total number of bacteria left in the final discharge effluent declined dramatically after treatment, the remaining bacteria was significantly more likely to resist multiple antibiotics than bacteria in water samples upstream. Some strains resisted as many as seven of eight antibiotics tested. The bacteria in samples taken 100 yards downstream also were more likely to resist multiple drugs than bacteria upstream.

"Twenty or 30 years ago, antibiotics would have killed most of these strains, no problem," he said.

Multiple antibiotic-resistant bacteria has emerged as one of the top public health issues worldwide in the last few decades as the overuse of antibiotics and other factors have caused bacteria to become resistant to common drugs. Xi's group chose to study Acinetobacter because it is a growing cause of hospital-acquired infections and because of its ability to acquire antibiotic resistance.

Xi said the problem isn't that treatment plants don't do a good job of cleaning the water---it's that they simply aren't equipped to remove all antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals entering the treatment plants.

The treatment process is fertile ground for the creation of superbugs because it encourages bacteria to grow and break down the organic matter. However, the good bacteria grow and replicate along with the bad. In the confined space, bacteria share resistant genetic materials, and remaining antibiotics and other stressors may select multi-drug resistant bacteria.

While scientists learn more about so-called superbugs, patients can do their part by not insisting on antibiotics for ailments that antibiotics don't treat, such as a common cold or the flu, Xi said. Also, instead of flushing unused drugs, they should be saved and disposed of at designated collection sites so they don't enter the sewer system.

The next step, said Xi, is to see how far downstream the superbugs survive and try to understand the link between aquatic and human superbugs. This study did not look past 100 yards.


'/>"/>

Contact: Laura Bailey
baileylm@umich.edu
734-764-1552
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Shuttle brings space-grown strep bacteria back for study
2. The worlds oldest bacteria
3. Bacteria from sponges make new pharmaceuticals
4. Boston University biomedical engineers find chink in bacterias armor
5. University of Leicester scientists discover technique to help friendly bacteria
6. Spaceflight shown to alter ability of bacteria to cause disease
7. A tiny pinch from a z-ring helps bacteria cells divide
8. Legionnaires bacterial proteins work together to survive
9. Scripps research team blocks bacterial communication system to prevent deadly staph infections
10. NSF awards Stevens team $1 million for research on smart, bacteria-repellent nanohydrogels
11. Chemical compound present in detergents produce bacteria alterations in agricultural soils
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/20/2016)... , Jan. 20, 2016  Synaptics Incorporated ... human interface solutions, today announced sampling of S1423, ... for wearables and small screen applications including smartwatches, ... printers. Supporting round and rectangular shapes, as well ... excellent performance with moisture on screen, while wearing ...
(Date:1/15/2016)... , Jan. 15, 2016 Recent publicized breaches ... to find new ways to ensure data security and ... iOS and Android that ties a ... transforming it into a hardware authorization token. Customer service ... their fingerprint on their KodeKey enabled device to verify ...
(Date:1/13/2016)... 13, 2016 ... of the  "India Biometrics Authentication & ... (2015-2020)"  report to their offering.  ... announced the addition of the  "India ... Estimation & Forecast (2015-2020)"  report ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... 11, 2016   BioInformant announces the February ... Research Products, Opportunities, Tools, and Technologies – Market Size, ... The first and ... cell industry, BioInformant has more than a decade of ... market, by stem cell type. This powerful 175 page ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... has announced a new agreement with Bankok,Thailand-based Global Stem Cells Network (GSCN) to ... in 15 Latin American countries, including Mexico, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Argentina, ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BioAmber Inc. (NYSE: BIOA ), ... that Mitsui & Co. Ltd., its partner in the ... is investing an additional CDN$25 million in the joint ... from 30% to 40%.  Mitsui will also play a ... in Sarnia , providing dedicated resources ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... 2016  The Maryland House of Delegates and House ... University of Maryland School of Medicine Dean E. ... Maryland Medical System President and CEO Robert Chrencik ... highest honor given to the public by the leader ... Reece and Mr. Chrencik for their contributions to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: