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Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2013 May;91:1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2013.01.016. Epub 2013 Feb 13.

Detection and fate of antibiotic resistant bacteria in wastewater treatment plants: a review.

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Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Crete, GR-73100 Chania, Greece.


Antibiotics are among the most successful group of pharmaceuticals used for human and veterinary therapy. However, large amounts of antibiotics are released into municipal wastewater due to incomplete metabolism in humans or due to disposal of unused antibiotics, which finally find their ways into different natural environmental compartments. The emergence and rapid spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB) has led to an increasing concern about the potential environmental and public health risks. ARB and antibiotic resistant genes (ARGs) have been detected extensively in wastewater samples. Available data show significantly higher proportion of antibiotic resistant bacteria contained in raw and treated wastewater relative to surface water. According to these studies, the conditions in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are favourable for the proliferation of ARB. Moreover, another concern with regards to the presence of ARB and ARGs is their effective removal from sewage. This review gives an overview of the available data on the occurrence of ARB and ARGs and their fate in WWTPs, on the biological methods dealing with the detection of bacterial populations and their resistance genes, and highlights areas in need for further research studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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