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      Evaluation of antibiotic resistance dissemination by wastewater treatment plant effluents with different catchment areas in Germany

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          Abstract

          The study quantified the abundances of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and facultative pathogenic bacteria (FPB) as well as one mobile genetic element in genomic DNA via qPCR from 23 different wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents in Germany. 12 clinically relevant ARGs were categorized into frequently, intermediately, and rarely occurring genetic parameters of communal wastewaters. Taxonomic PCR quantifications of five FPB targeting Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, and enterococci were performed. The WWTPs differed in their catchment areas being impacted by hospitals, food processing companies, or housing areas only. The total discharges of the analyzed ARGs and FPB were found to cluster independently of the sizes of the WWTPs with a maximum difference of two log units within one cluster. Initially, quantitative data evaluations revealed no significant difference between ARG categories and WWTP catchment areas. More distinct correlations became obvious with a Pearson correlation approach, where each single taxonomic marker is compared to each ARG target. Here, increased correlation of FPB (i.e. E. coli, K. pneumoniae, P. aeruginosa, and enterococci) with clinically relevant ARGs of the category of rarely occurring resistance genes ( bla NDM-1, vanA) was found in WWTP effluents being influenced by hospital wastewaters.

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          Tackling antibiotic resistance: the environmental framework.

          Antibiotic resistance is a threat to human and animal health worldwide, and key measures are required to reduce the risks posed by antibiotic resistance genes that occur in the environment. These measures include the identification of critical points of control, the development of reliable surveillance and risk assessment procedures, and the implementation of technological solutions that can prevent environmental contamination with antibiotic resistant bacteria and genes. In this Opinion article, we discuss the main knowledge gaps, the future research needs and the policy and management options that should be prioritized to tackle antibiotic resistance in the environment.
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            Antibiotics and antibiotic resistance in water environments.

            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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              The world of subinhibitory antibiotic concentrations.

              Although antibiotics have long been known to have multiple effects on bacterial cells at low concentrations, it is only with the advent of genome transcription analyses that these activities have been studied in detail at the level of cell metabolism. It has been shown that all antibiotics, regardless of their receptors and mode of action, exhibit the phenomenon of hormesis and provoke considerable transcription activation at low concentrations. These analyses should be of value in providing information on antibiotic side-effects, in bioactive natural product discovery and antibiotic mode-of-action studies.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                johannes.alexander@kit.edu
                Journal
                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2045-2322
                2 June 2020
                2 June 2020
                2020
                : 10
                Affiliations
                ISNI 0000 0001 0075 5874, GRID grid.7892.4, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute of Functional Interfaces, Hermann-von-Helmholtz Platz 1, ; D-76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany
                Article
                65635
                10.1038/s41598-020-65635-4
                7265433
                32488142
                d81f5791-6e67-46c5-ad12-cf60dbe0efb8
                © The Author(s) 2020

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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                © The Author(s) 2020

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                microbiology, molecular biology, environmental sciences, natural hazards

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