The Rise Of Super Bacteria In The Cleanest Wastewater
Treated municipal water which is cleaned through the highest-quality treatment technology can result in significant amounts of antibiotic-resistant bacteria or simply called super bacteria. A study at the University of Minnesota reveals that standard wastewater treatment technologies may release great quantities of antibiotic genes used by bacteria.
This new study is led by civil engineering associate professor Timothy LaPara in the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities College of Science and Engineering. This study is published in the most recent issue of Environmental Science and Technology which is a journal of the American Chemical Society. This research was a part of a graduate- level civil engineering class at the University of Minnesota, a project which focuses on environmental microbiology.
The direct relationship between water reservoirs and the growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria has been the focus of several studies throughout the years and it has to be understood that antibiotic resistant bacteria begins their life in the gastrointestinal tracts of human beings taking antibiotics. As these bacteria are shed through defacation, waste in the sewage is collected and eventually ends up in a municipal waste water treatment facility. Current treatment techniques used in wastewater removes a very large fraction of genes that are antibiotic resistant. This study therefore emphasizes that treatment to wastewater should be carefully considered and studied to prevent global antibiotic resistance.
Aside from the treatment of wastewater as the culprit for the rise of super bacteria, other factors like agricultural activity and the large volume of industrial wastewater discharge which can ultimately affect the rise of antibiotic resistant microorganisms.
This study was funded by the National Science Foundation. The Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund paid for the R/V Blue Heron ship to collect water samples from St. Louis River, Duluth – Superior Harbor and Lake Superior in northeastern Minnesota.