Aims: The goal of this study was to determine the antimicrobial susceptibility of bacteria isolated from three municipal wastewater treatment plants.Methods and Results: Numerous bacterial strains were isolated from three municipal wastewater treatment facilities on tetracycline- (n = 164) and ciprofloxacin-amended (n = 65) growth media. These bacteria were then characterized with respect to their resistance to as many as 10 different antimicrobials, the presence of 14 common genes that encode resistance to tetracycline, the presence of integrons and/or the ability to transfer resistance via conjugation. All of the characterized strains exhibited some degree of multiple antimicrobial resistance, with nearly 50% demonstrating resistance to every antimicrobial that was tested. Genes encoding resistance to tetracycline were commonly detected among these strains, although intriguingly the frequency of detection was slightly higher for the bacteria isolated on ciprofloxacin-amended growth media (62%) compared to the bacteria isolated on tetracycline-amended growth media (53%). Class 1 integrons were also detected in 100% of the queried tetracycline-resistant bacteria and almost half of the ciprofloxacin-resistant strains. Conjugation experiments demonstrated that at least one of the tetracycline-resistant bacteria was capable of lateral gene transfer.Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that multiple antimicrobial resistance is a common trait among tetracycline-resistant and ciprofloxacin-resistant bacteria in municipal wastewater.Significance and Impact of the Study: These organisms are potentially important in the proliferation of antimicrobial resistance because they appear to have acquired multiple genetic determinants that confer resistance and because they have the potential to laterally transfer these genetic determinants to strains of clinical importance.
- Antimicrobial resistance
- Municipal wastewater