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Environ Sci Technol. 2015 Jun 2;49(11):6528-37. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.5b01031. Epub 2015 May 14.

Accumulation of clinically relevant antibiotic-resistance genes, bacterial load, and metals in freshwater lake sediments in Central Europe.

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†University of Geneva, Faculty of Sciences, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Institute F. A. Forel and Institute of Environmental Sciences, Case Postale 416, 1290 Versoix, Switzerland.
‡Postgraduate and Research Department of Zoology, Jamal Mohamed College, Tiruchirappalli, 620020 Tamil Nadu, India.
§Université Pédagogique Nationale, Croisement Route de Matadi et Avenue de la Libération, Quartier Binza/UPN, Boı̂te Postale 8815, Kinshasa, République Démocratique du Congo.
∥Université de Kinshasa, Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Département des Sciences de l'Information et de la Communication, Boı̂te Postale 243, Kinshasa XI, République Démocratique du Congo.
⊥University of Kinshasa, Faculty of Science, Department of Chemistry, Boı̂te Postale 190, Kinshasa XI, Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) receive the effluents from various sources (communities, industrial, and hospital effluents) and are recognized as reservoir for antibiotic-resistance genes (ARGs) that are associated with clinical pathogens. The aquatic environment is considered a hot-spot for horizontal gene transfer, and lake sediments offer the opportunity for reconstructing the pollution history and evaluating the impacts. In this context, variation with depth and time of the total bacterial load, the abundance of faecal indicator bacteria (FIB; E. coli and Enterococcus spp. (ENT)), Pseudomonas spp., and ARGs (blaTEM, blaSHV, blaCTX-M, blaNDM, and aadA) were quantified in sediment profiles of different parts of Lake Geneva using quantitative PCR. The abundance of bacterial marker genes was identified in sediments contaminated by WWTP following eutrophication of the lake. Additionally, ARGs, including the extended-spectrum ß-lactam- and aminoglycoside-resistance genes, were identified in the surface sediments. The ARG and FIB abundance strongly correlated (r ≥ 0.403, p < 0.05, n = 34) with organic matter and metal concentrations in the sediments, indicating a common and contemporary source of contamination. The contamination of sediments by untreated or partially treated effluent water can affect the quality of ecosystem. Therefore, the reduction of contaminants from the source is recommended for further improvement of water quality.

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