Recent Published Articles

A combined evaluation of the characteristics and antibiotic resistance induction potential of antibiotic wastewater during the treatment process


Jiane Zuo , Sun Miao , Yanyan Zhang , Cong Men , Yiou Mao

DOI:10.1016/j.jes.2023.04.002

Received January 19, 2023,Revised , Accepted April 04, 2023, Available online April 13, 2023

Volume 36,2024,Pages 626-636

Antibiotic wastewater contains a variety of pollutant stressors that can induce and promote antibiotic resistance (AR) when released into the environment. Although these substances are mostly in concentrations lower than those known to induce AR individually, it is possible that antibiotic wastewater discharge might still promote the AR transmission risk via additive or synergistic effects. However, the comprehensive effect of antibiotic wastewater on AR development has rarely been evaluated, and its treatment efficiency remains unknown. Here, samples were collected from different stages of a cephalosporin production wastewater treatment plant, and the potential AR induction effect of their chemical mixtures was explored through the exposure of the antibiotic-sensitive Escherichia coli K12 strain. Incubation with raw cephalosporin production wastewater significantly promoted mutation rates (3.6 × 103–9.3 × 103-fold) and minimum inhibition concentrations (6.0–6.7-fold) of E. coli against ampicillin and chloramphenicol. This may be attributed to the inhibition effect and oxidative stress of cephalosporin wastewater on E. coli. The AR induction effect of cephalosporin wastewater decreased after the coagulation sedimentation treatment and was completely removed after the full treatment process. A Pearson correlation analysis revealed that the reduction in the AR induction effect had a strong positive correlation with the removal of organics and biological toxicity. This indicates that the antibiotic wastewater treatment had a collaborative processing effect of conventional pollutants, toxicity, and the AR induction effect. This study illustrates the potential AR transmission risk of antibiotic wastewater and highlights the need for its adequate treatment.

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