Understanding the microbial ecology of a system requires that the observed population dynamics can be linked to their metabolic functions. However, functional characterization is laborious and the choice of organisms should be prioritized to those that are frequently abundant (core) or transiently abundant, which are therefore putatively make the greatest contribution to carbon turnover in the system. We analyzed the microbial communities in 13 Danish wastewater treatment plants with nutrient removal in consecutive years and a single plant periodically over 6 years, using Illumina sequencing of 16S ribosomal RNA amplicons of the V4 region. The plants contained a core community of 63 abundant genus-level operational taxonomic units (OTUs) that made up 68% of the total reads. A core community consisting of abundant OTUs was also observed within the incoming wastewater to three plants. The net growth rate for individual OTUs was quantified using mass balance, and it was found that 10% of the total reads in the activated sludge were from slow or non-growing OTUs, and that their measured abundance was primarily because of immigration with the wastewater. Transiently abundant organisms were also identified. Among them the genus Nitrotoga (class Betaproteobacteria) was the most abundant putative nitrite oxidizer in a number of activated sludge plants, which challenges previous assumptions that Nitrospira (phylum Nitrospirae) are the primary nitrite-oxidizers in activated sludge systems with nutrient removal.
Domestic wastewater discharges may adversely impact arctic ecosystems and local indigenous people, who rely on being able to hunt and harvest food from their local environment. Therefore, there is a need to develop efficient wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), which can be operated in remote communities under extreme climatic conditions. WWTPs have been identified as reservoirs of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). The objective of this work was to quantify the presence of nine different ARG markers (int1, sul1, sul2, tet(O), erm(B), mecA, blaCTX-M, blaTEM, and qnr(S)) in two passive systems (waste stabilization ponds [WSPs]) and one mechanical filtration plant operating in two smaller and one large community, respectively, in Nunavut, Canada. Measurement of water quality parameters (carbonaceous oxygen demand, ammonia, total suspended solids, Escherichia coli and total coliforms) showed that the WWTPs provided only primary treatment. Low levels of the ARGs (2logcopies/mL) were observed in the effluent, demonstrating that bacteria residing in three northern WWTPs harbour ARGs conferring resistance to multiple clinically-relevant classes of antibiotics. Our results indicate that long-term storage in WSPs benefitted removal of organic material and some ARGs. However, one WSP system showed evidence of the enrichment of sul1, sul2, mecA, tet(O) and qnr(S). Further research is needed to fully understand if these ARG releases pose a risk to human health, especially in the context of traditional hunting and fishing activities.
Aquatic pollution with faecal bacteria and subsequent consumption of contaminated water or food is a worldwide issue that causes severe health effects (e.g. meningitis, salmonellosis, dysentery). In addition, the excessive use of antibiotics in animal husbandry and human medicine has enhanced the selective pressure on pathogenic bacteria, further increasing human health risks and detrimental effects on natural microbial communities. This urges the need to monitor faecal contamination using a time-integrated approach, as grab water samples can miss pathogen peaks. We tested the ability of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) to take up and depurate faecal indicator bacteria such as Escherichia coli and intestinal enterococci. Furthermore, we quantified the frequency of antibiotic resistant bacteria in water and mussels both in controlled laboratory tests and under in situ conditions downstream of a sewage treatment plant (STP). Laboratory results show that bacterial indicators in mussels were 132 times higher than their concentration in water, and that mussels retained bacteria up to 2?days after pulse exposure. Field results show decreasing bacterial concentrations in both water and mussels downstream the STP, with maximum E. coli concentrations ranging 173-9?cfu?mL-1 in water and 2970-330?cfu?g-1 in mussels. Similarly, enterococci ranged 59-4?cfu?mL-1 and 1450-240?cfu?g-1 in water and mussels, respectively. High proportions of antibiotic resistant E. coli were found in mussels (72%) and water (65%), and slightly lower proportion of resistant enterococci was found in mussels (47%) and in water (34%). Moreover, 33% of the bacteria isolated from mussels were resistant to multiple antibiotics, which emphasizes that resistance is a common feature in surface waters and highlights the need for safe water management. Our results show that zebra mussels provide an efficient, time-integrating tool for quantifying faecal indicators, including resistant and multidrug resistant bacteria.
In this study two wet microalgae cultures and one dried microalgae culture were co-digested in different proportions with sewage sludge in mesophilic and thermophilic conditions. The aim was to evaluate if the co-digestion could lead to an increased efficiency of methane production compared to digestion of sewage sludge alone. The results showed that co-digestion with both wet and dried microalgae, in certain proportions, increased the biochemical methane potential (BMP) compared with digestion of sewage sludge alone in mesophilic conditions. The BMP was significantly higher than the calculated BMP in many of the mixtures. This synergetic effect was statistically significant in a mixture containing 63% (w/w VS based) undigested sewage sludge and 37% (w/w VS based) wet algae slurry, which produced 23% more methane than observed with undigested sewage sludge alone. The trend was that thermophilic co-digestion of microalgae and undigested sewage sludge did not give the same synergy.
Extended spectrum ß-lactamase producing Escherichia coli (ESBL-EC) are excreted via effluents and sewage into the environment where they can re-contaminate humans and animals. The aim of this observational study was to detect and quantify ESBL-EC in recreational water and wastewater, and perform a genetic and phenotypic comparative analysis of the environmental strains with geographically associated human urinary ESBL-EC. Recreational fresh- and saltwater samples from four different beaches and wastewater samples from a nearby sewage plant were filtered and cultured on differential and ESBL-selective media. After antimicrobial susceptibility testing and multi-locus variable number of tandem repeats assay (MLVA), selected ESBL-EC strains from recreational water were characterized by whole genome sequencing (WGS) and compared to wastewater and human urine isolates from people living in the same area. We detected ESBL-EC in recreational water samples on 8/20 occasions (40%), representing all sites. The ratio of ESBL-EC to total number of E. coli colony forming units varied from 0 to 3.8%. ESBL-EC were present in all wastewater samples in ratios of 0.56-0.75%. ST131 was most prevalent in urine and wastewater samples, while ST10 dominated in water samples. Eight STs and identical ESBL-EC MLVA-types were detected in all compartments. Clinical ESBL-EC isolates were more likely to be multidrug-resistant (p
Cites: Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2015 Aug;22(15):11488-9225821088
Cites: PLoS One. 2017 Mar 7;12 (3):e017351028267783
Cases of Legionnaires' disease associated with biological treatment plants (BTPs) have been reported in six countries between 1997 and 2010. However, knowledge about the occurrence of Legionella in BTPs is scarce. Hence, we undertook a qualitative and quantitative screening for Legionella in BTPs treating waste water from municipalities and industries in Norway, to assess the transmission potential of Legionella from these installations. Thirty-three plants from different industries were sampled four times within 1 year. By cultivation, 21 (16%) of 130 analyses were positive for Legionella species and 12 (9%) of 130 analyses were positive for Legionella pneumophila. By quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), 433 (99%) of 437 analyses were positive for Legionella species and 218 (46%) of 470 analyses were positive for L. pneumophila. This survey indicates that PCR could be the preferable method for detection of Legionella in samples from BTPs. Sequence types of L. pneumophila associated with outbreaks in Norway were not identified from the BTPs. We showed that a waste water treatment plant with an aeration basin can produce high concentrations of Legionella. Therefore, these plants should be considered as a possible source of community-acquired Legionella infections.
Wastewater stabilization ponds (WSPs) are commonly used to treat municipal wastewater in Arctic Canada. The biological treatment in the WSPs is strongly influenced by climatic conditions. Currently, there is limited information about the removal of fecal and pathogenic bacteria during the short cool summer treatment season. With relevance to public health, the objectives of this paper were to determine if treatment in arctic WSPs resulted in the disinfection (i.e., removal of fecal indicator bacteria, Escherichia coli) and removal of selected human bacterial pathogens from the treated effluent. The treatment performance, with focus on microbial removal, was assessed for the one-cell WSP in Pond Inlet (Nunavut [NU]) and two-cell WSP in Clyde River (NU) over three consecutive (2012-2014) summer treatment seasons (late June-early September). The WSPs provided a primary disinfection treatment of the wastewater with a 2-3 Log removal of generic indicator E. coli. The bacterial pathogens Salmonella spp., pathogenic E. coli, and Listeria monocytogenes, but not Campylobacter spp. and Helicobacter pylori, were detected in the untreated and treated wastewater, indicating that human pathogens were not reliably removed. Seasonal and annual variations in temperature significantly (p
The sulfidogenic bacterium Desulfovibrio sp. TomC was isolated from acidic waste at the abandoned gold ore mining site in the Martaiga gold ore belt, Western Siberia. This bacterium, being the first reported acid-tolerant gram-negative sulfate-reducer of the order Deltaproteobacteria, is able to grow at pH as low as 2.5 and is resistant to high concentrations of metals. The draft 5.3 Mb genome sequence of Desulfovibrio sp. TomC has been established and provides the genetic basis for application of this microorganism in bioreactors and other bioremediation schemes for the treatment of metal-containing wastewater.
CBQF - Centro de Biotecnologia e Química Fina - Laboratório Associado, Escola Superior de Biotecnologia, Universidade Católica Portuguesa/Porto, Rua Dr. António Bernardino de Almeida, 4200-072, Porto, Portugal.
Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2013 Jun;20(6):3550-69
The objective of this review is to reflect on the multiple roles of bacteria in wastewater habitats with particular emphasis on their harmful potential for human health. Indigenous bacteria promote a series of biochemical and metabolic transformations indispensable to achieve wastewater treatment. Some of these bacteria may be pathogenic or harbour antibiotic resistance or virulence genes harmful for human health. Several chemical contaminants (heavy metals, disinfectants and antibiotics) may select these bacteria or their genes. Worldwide studies show that treated wastewater contain antibiotic resistant bacteria or genes encoding virulence or antimicrobial resistance, evidencing that treatment processes may fail to remove efficiently these bio-pollutants. The contamination of the surrounding environment, such as rivers or lakes receiving such effluents, is also documented in several studies. The current state of the art suggests that only some of antibiotic resistance and virulence potential in wastewater is known. Moreover, wastewater habitats may favour the evolution and dissemination of new resistance and virulence genes and the emergence of new pathogens. For these reasons, additional research is needed in order to obtain a more detailed assessment of the long-term effects of wastewater discharges. In particular, it is important to measure the human and environmental health risks associated with wastewater reuse.
Good hygienic quality of surface waters is essential for drinking water production, irrigation of crops and recreation. Predictions of how and when microbes are transported by rivers are needed to protect downstream water users. In this study we tested the new process-based INCA-Pathogens model in the agricultural Loimijoki River basin (3138km2) in Finland, and we quantified ecosystem services of water purification and water provisioning for drinking and recreation purposes under different scenarios. INCA is a catchment scale process based model to calculate pollutant transfer from terrestrial environment and point sources to the catchment outlet. A clear gradient was observed in the numbers of faecal coliforms along the River Loimijoki. The highest bacterial counts were detected in the middle part of the main stream immediately after small industries and municipal sewage treatment plants. In terms of model performance, the INCA-Pathogen model was able to produce faecal coliform counts and seasonality both in the low pollution level sampling points and in the high pollution level sampling points. The model was sensitive to the parameters defining light decay in river water and in soil compartment, as well as to the amount of faecal coliforms in the manure spread on the fields. The modeling results showed that the number of faecal coliforms repeatedly exceeded 1000 bacteria 100ml-1. Moreover, results lead to the following conclusions: 1) Climate change does not cause a major threat to hygienic water quality as higher precipitation increases runoff and causes diluting effect in the river, 2) Intensification of agriculture is not a threat as long as animal density remains relatively low and environmental legislation is followed, 3) More intensive agriculture without environmental legislation causes a threat especially in tributaries with high field percentage and animal density, and 4) Hygienic water quality in the River Loimijoki can best be improved by improving sewage treatment. We conclude that this catchment scale model is a useful tool for addressing catchment management and water treatment planning issues.