Detection of Aminoglycoside Resistant Bacteria in Sludge Samples From Norwegian Drinking Water Treatment Plants


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Frontiers in Microbiology; March 2019 | Volume 10 | Article 487


Frontiers Media

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Through a culture-based approach using sludge from drinking water treatment plants, this study reports on the presence of aminoglycoside resistant bacteria at 23 different geographical locations in Norway. Sludge samples are derived from a large environmental area including drinking water sources and their surrounding catchment areas. Aminoglycoside resistant bacteria were detected at 18 of the sample sites. Only five samples did not show any growth of isolates resistant to the selected aminoglycosides, kanamycin and gentamycin. There was a statistically significant correlation between the numbers of kanamycin and gentamycin resistant bacteria isolated from the 23 samples, perhaps suggesting common determinants of resistance. Based on 16S rRNA sequencing of 223 aminoglycoside resistant isolates, three different genera of Bacteroidetes were found to dominate across samples. These were Flavobacterium, Mucilaginibacter and Pedobacter. Further phenotypic and genotypic analyses showed that efflux pumps, reduced membrane permeability and four assayed genes coding for aminoglycoside modifying enzymes AAC(60)-Ib, AAC(30)-II, APH(30)II, APH(30)-III, could only explain the resistance of a few of the isolates selected for testing. aph(30)-II was detected in 1.6% of total isolates, aac(60)-Ib and aph(30)-III in 0.8%, while aac(30)-II was not detected in any of the isolates. The isolates, for which potential resistance mechanisms were found, represented 13 different genera suggesting that aminoglycoside resistance is widespread in bacterial genera indigenous to sludge. The present study suggests that aminoglycoside resistant bacteria are present in Norwegian environments with limited anthropogenic exposures. However, the resistance mechanisms remain largely unknown, and further analyses, including cultureindependent methods, could be performed to investigate other potential resistance mechanisms. This is, to our knowledge, the first large scale nationwide investigation of aminoglycoside resistance in the Norwegian environment.




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