Rapid selection of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in complex water systems by chlorine and pipe materials

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Antimicrobial resistance is a major health issue induced by the overuse of antibiotics and disinfection reagents, e.g. chlorine. Resistant bacteria thus occur in water supply systems, and they transfer genes to other microbial populations, including pathogens. Treatment and inactivation of resistant bacteria are difficult in complex systems because the behaviour of resistant bacteria in such systems is poorly known, as most previous investigations are commonly performed in pure media. Therefore, we tested here the effect of 0.5 mg/mL chlorine and pipe materials made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), copper and cement, on microbial populations in biofilms, during 5 days. Bacterial survival was monitored by viable counts, and resistant genes were analysed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Results show that, in 56% of the cases, resistant bacteria became immediately enriched into biofilms due to chlorine exposure. Higher proportion of resistant bacteria were found in biofilms on PVC and copper pipes. Our findings imply that resistant microbial strains are very rapidly selected and that the pipe material has an influence on microbial selection.
LanguageEnglish
Pages1367-1373
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Chemistry Letters
Volume17
Issue number3
Early online date6 Mar 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2019

Fingerprint

Chlorine
chlorine
Bacteria
pipe
Pipe
Biofilms
bacterium
Water
biofilm
Polyvinyl Chloride
Polyvinyl chlorides
water
Copper pipe
copper
Gene transfer
Water supply systems
gene transfer
Disinfection
Polymerase chain reaction
Pathogens

Keywords

  • biofilm
  • chlorine
  • disinfectant
  • water supply
  • antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Cite this

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abstract = "Antimicrobial resistance is a major health issue induced by the overuse of antibiotics and disinfection reagents, e.g. chlorine. Resistant bacteria thus occur in water supply systems, and they transfer genes to other microbial populations, including pathogens. Treatment and inactivation of resistant bacteria are difficult in complex systems because the behaviour of resistant bacteria in such systems is poorly known, as most previous investigations are commonly performed in pure media. Therefore, we tested here the effect of 0.5 mg/mL chlorine and pipe materials made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), copper and cement, on microbial populations in biofilms, during 5 days. Bacterial survival was monitored by viable counts, and resistant genes were analysed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Results show that, in 56{\%} of the cases, resistant bacteria became immediately enriched into biofilms due to chlorine exposure. Higher proportion of resistant bacteria were found in biofilms on PVC and copper pipes. Our findings imply that resistant microbial strains are very rapidly selected and that the pipe material has an influence on microbial selection.",
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AU - Khan, Sadia

AU - Beattie, Tara K.

AU - Knapp, Charles W.

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Y1 - 2019/9/30

N2 - Antimicrobial resistance is a major health issue induced by the overuse of antibiotics and disinfection reagents, e.g. chlorine. Resistant bacteria thus occur in water supply systems, and they transfer genes to other microbial populations, including pathogens. Treatment and inactivation of resistant bacteria are difficult in complex systems because the behaviour of resistant bacteria in such systems is poorly known, as most previous investigations are commonly performed in pure media. Therefore, we tested here the effect of 0.5 mg/mL chlorine and pipe materials made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), copper and cement, on microbial populations in biofilms, during 5 days. Bacterial survival was monitored by viable counts, and resistant genes were analysed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Results show that, in 56% of the cases, resistant bacteria became immediately enriched into biofilms due to chlorine exposure. Higher proportion of resistant bacteria were found in biofilms on PVC and copper pipes. Our findings imply that resistant microbial strains are very rapidly selected and that the pipe material has an influence on microbial selection.

AB - Antimicrobial resistance is a major health issue induced by the overuse of antibiotics and disinfection reagents, e.g. chlorine. Resistant bacteria thus occur in water supply systems, and they transfer genes to other microbial populations, including pathogens. Treatment and inactivation of resistant bacteria are difficult in complex systems because the behaviour of resistant bacteria in such systems is poorly known, as most previous investigations are commonly performed in pure media. Therefore, we tested here the effect of 0.5 mg/mL chlorine and pipe materials made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), copper and cement, on microbial populations in biofilms, during 5 days. Bacterial survival was monitored by viable counts, and resistant genes were analysed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Results show that, in 56% of the cases, resistant bacteria became immediately enriched into biofilms due to chlorine exposure. Higher proportion of resistant bacteria were found in biofilms on PVC and copper pipes. Our findings imply that resistant microbial strains are very rapidly selected and that the pipe material has an influence on microbial selection.

KW - biofilm

KW - chlorine

KW - disinfectant

KW - water supply

KW - antibiotic-resistant bacteria

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