Effect of temperature on the fate of genes encoding tetracycline resistance and the integrase of class 1 integrons within anaerobic and aerobic digesters treating municipal wastewater solids

David L. Diehl, Timothy M. Lapara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

195 Scopus citations

Abstract

The objective of this research was to investigate the ability of anaerobic and aerobic digesters to reduce the quantity of antibiotic resistant bacteria in wastewater solids. Lab-scale digesters were operated at different temperatures (22 °C, 37 °C, 46 °C, and 55 °C) under both anaerobic and aerobic conditions and fed wastewater solids collected from a full-scale treatment facility. Quantitative PCR was used to track five genes encoding tetracycline resistance (tet(A), tet(L), tet(O), tet(W), and tet(X)) and the gene encoding the integrase (intI1) of class 1 integrons. Statistically significant reductions in the quantities of these genes occurred in the anaerobic reactors at 37 °C, 46 °C, and 55 °C, with the removal rates and removal efficiencies increasing as a function of temperature. The aerobic digesters, in contrast, were generally incapable of significantly decreasing gene quantities, although these digesters were operated at much shorter mean hydraulic residence times. This research suggests that high temperature anaerobic digestion of wastewater solids would be a suitable technology for eliminating various antibiotic resistance genes, an emerging pollutant of concern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9128-9133
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume44
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010

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