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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2008 Jun;19(3):260-5. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2008.05.006. Epub 2008 Jun 4.

Antibiotics and antibiotic resistance in water environments.

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Department of Microbiology, Ramón y Cajal University Hospital, CIBER-ESP, Spain.


Antibiotic-resistant organisms enter into water environments from human and animal sources. These bacteria are able to spread their genes into water-indigenous microbes, which also contain resistance genes. On the contrary, many antibiotics from industrial origin circulate in water environments, potentially altering microbial ecosystems. Risk assessment protocols for antibiotics and resistant bacteria in water, based on better systems for antibiotics detection and antibiotic-resistance microbial source tracking, are starting to be discussed. Methods to reduce resistant bacterial load in wastewaters, and the amount of antimicrobial agents, in most cases originated in hospitals and farms, include optimization of disinfection procedures and management of wastewater and manure. A policy for preventing mixing human-originated and animal-originated bacteria with environmental organisms seems advisable.

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