Air-drying beds reduce the quantities of antibiotic resistance genes and class 1 integrons in residual municipal wastewater solids

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Abstract

This study investigated whether air-drying beds reduce antibiotic resistance gene (ARG) concentrations in residual municipal wastewater solids. Three laboratory-scale drying beds were operated for a period of nearly 100 days. Real-time PCR was used to quantify 16S rRNA genes, 16S rRNA genes specific to fecal bacteria (AllBac) and human fecal bacteria (HF183), the integrase gene of class 1 integrons (intI1), and five ARGs representing a cross-section of antibiotic classes and resistance mechanisms (erm(B), sul1, tet(A), tet(W), and tet(X)). Air-drying beds were capable of reducing all gene target concentrations by 1 to 5 orders of magnitude, and the nature of this reduction was consistent with both a net decrease in the number of bacterial cells and a lack of selection within the microbial community. Half-lives varied between 1.5 d (HF183) and 5.4 d (tet(X)) during the first 20 d of treatment. After the first 20 d of treatment, however, half-lives varied between 8.6 d (tet(X)) and 19.3 d (AllBac), and 16S rRNA gene, intI1, and sul1 concentrations did not change (P > 0.05). These results demonstrate that air-drying beds can reduce ARG and intI1 concentrations in residual municipal wastewater solids within timeframes typical of operating practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9965-9971
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume47
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2 2013

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