Navigation Links
University of Minnesota engineering researcher finds new way to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria
Date:11/22/2010

New findings by civil engineering researchers in the University of Minnesota's College of Science and Engineering shows that treating municipal wastewater solids at higher temperatures may be an effective tool in the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Heating the solid waste to 130 degrees Fahrenheit (55 degrees Celsius) was particularly effective in eliminating the genes that confer antibiotic resistance. These genes are used by bacteria to become resistant to multiple antibiotics, which are then known as "superbacteria" or "superbugs."

The research paper was recently published in Environmental Science & Technology, a journal of the American Chemical Society and highlighted in the society's weekly magazine Chemical & Engineering News.

Antibiotics are used to treat numerous bacterial infections, but the ever-increasing presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has raised substantial concern about the future effectiveness of antibiotics.

"The current scientific paradigm is that antibiotic resistance is primarily caused by antibiotic use, which has led to initiatives to restrict antibiotic prescriptions and curtail antibiotic use in agriculture," said civil engineering associate professor Timothy LaPara, an expert in both wastewater treatment and microbiology who led the new University of Minnesota study. "Our research is one of the first studies that considers a different approach to thwarting the spread of antibiotic resistance by looking at the treatment of municipal wastewater solids."

Antibiotic resistant bacteria develop in the gastrointestinal tracts of people taking antibiotics. These bacteria are then shed during defecation, which is collected by the existing sewer infrastructure and passed through a municipal wastewater treatment facility. The majority of wastewater treatment plants incubate the solid waste, called sludge, in a "digester" that decomposes organic materials. Digesters are often operated at 95 to 98 degrees Fahrenheit (35 to 37 degrees Celsius).

"Many digesters are operated at our body temperature, which is perfect for resistant bacteria to survive and maybe even grow," LaPara said.

Lab research by LaPara and his graduate student David Diehl shows that anaerobic digestion of municipal wastewater solids at high temperatures (as high as 130 degrees Fahrenheit or 55 degrees Celsius) is capable of destroying up to 99.9 percent of various genes that confer resistance in bacteria. In contrast, conventional anaerobic digestion (operated at 95 to 98 degrees Fahrenheit or about 37 degrees Celsius) demonstrated only a slight ability to eliminate the same set of genes.

"Our latest research suggests that high temperature anaerobic digestion offers a novel approach to slow the proliferation of antibiotic resistance." LaPara said. "This new method could be used in combination with other actions, like limiting the use of antibiotics, to extend the lifespan of these precious drugs."

LaPara also pointed out that raising the temperature of anaerobic digestion at wastewater treatment plants is not cost-prohibitive because the digesting bacteria produce methane gas that can be used to heat the reactor.


'/>"/>

Contact: Rhonda Zurn
rzurn@umn.edu
612-626-7959
University of Minnesota
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Hybrid tugboat cuts emissions, University of California, Riverside study shows
2. Hebrew University research carries cautionary warning for future stem cell applications
3. 11 University of Miami grad students receive recognition in marine and atmospheric science
4. Technology developed at Queens University allows medical workers to better assess brain injuries
5. Tufts University chemist earns prestigious award for promising research on drug development
6. Karl Deisseroth of Stanford University receives HFSP Nakasone Award
7. Michigan State University Federal Credit Union Deploys DigitalPersona Pro to Simplify Password Management and Strengthen Security
8. Columbia University Medical Center announces 2010 Katz Prizes in cardiovascular research
9. University of Illinois researchers discover potential new virus in switchgrass
10. Texas A&M University becomes key player in global study to save Earths endangered species
11. Falling in love more scientific than you think, according to Syracuse University professor
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/9/2016)... Elevay is currently known as ... for high net worth professionals seeking travel for work ... world, there is still no substitute for a face-to-face ... your deal with a firm handshake. This is why ... of citizenship via investment programs like those offered by ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... and BANGALORE, India , April ... EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... today announced a global partnership that will provide ... to use mobile banking and payment services.      ... a key innovation area for financial services, but it also ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... and LONDON , April ... part of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of ... today announced a partnership to integrate the Onegini ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ) ... their customers enhanced security to access and transact ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... READING, England , May 26, ... ), a leading global provider of clinical, commercial ... healthcare organisations and TranScrip ( http://www.transcrip-partners.com ), a ... the product lifecycle, today announced the extension of ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20141208/720248 ) ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... 26, 2016 , ... Kinder Scientific (KinderScientific.com), a leading animal ... the Company for the future. Kinder Scientific announces restructured ownership and additional ... appointed Chairman of the Board, Curtis D. Kinghorn has been appointed CEO/President and ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... The ... fracture-specific plating options designed to address fractures of the distal tibia and fibula. ... The Acumed Ankle Plating System 3 is composed of seven plate families that ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... WEDI, the nation’s leading authority on the use ... W. Stellar has been named by the WEDI Board of Directors as WEDI’s president ... executive leader with more than 35 years of experience in healthcare, association management and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: