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Hospital Effluents Are One of Several Sources of Metal, Antibiotic Resistance Genes, and Bacterial Markers Disseminated in Sub-Saharan Urban Rivers

Kilunga, Pitchouna I.
Kayembe, John M.
Mulaji, Crispin K.
Published in Frontiers in Microbiology. 2016, vol. 7
Abstract Data concerning the occurrence of emerging biological contaminants such as antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) in aquatic environments in Sub-Saharan African countries is limited. On the other hand, antibiotic resistance remains a worldwide problem which may pose serious potential risks to human and animal health. Consequently, there is a growing number of reports concerning the prevalence and dissemination of these contaminants into various environmental compartments. Sediments provide the opportunity to reconstruct the pollution history and evaluate impacts so this study investigates the abundance and distribution of toxic metals, FIB, and ARGs released from hospital effluent wastewaters and their presence in river sediments receiving systems. ARGs (blaTEM, blaCTX-M, blaSHV, and aadA), total bacterial load, and selected bacterial species FIB (E. coli, Enterococcus (ENT)) and Pseudomonas species (Psd) were quantified by targeting species specific genes using quantitative PCR (qPCR) in total DNA extracted from the sediments recovered from 4 hospital outlet pipes (HOP) and their river receiving systems in the City of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The results highlight the great concentration of toxic metals in HOP, reaching the values (in mg kg-1) of 47.9 (Cr), 213.6 (Cu), 1434.4 (Zn), 2.6 (Cd), 281.5 (Pb), and 13.6 (Hg). The results also highlight the highest (P˂0.05) values of 16S rRNA, FIB, and ARGs copy numbers in all sampling sites including upstream (control site), discharge point, and downstream of receiving rivers, indicating that the hospital effluent water is not an exclusive source of the biological contaminants entering the urban rivers. Significant correlation were observed between (i) all analyzed ARGs and total bacterial load (16S rRNA) 0.51 to 0.72 (p<0.001, n=65); (ii) ARGs (except blaTEM) and FIB and Psd 0.57 < r < 0.82 (p<0.001, n=65); and (iii) ARGs (except blaTEM) and toxic metals (Cd, Cr, Cu, and Zn) 0.44 to 0.72, (p<0.001, n=65). These findings demonstrate that several sources including hospital and urban wastewaters contribute to the spread of toxic metals and biological emerging contaminants in aquatic ecosystems.
Keywords Hospital and urban wastewaterWater pollutionSediment receiving systemToxic metalsAntibiotic resistance genesFecal indicator bacteriaSub-Saharan AfricaTropical conditions
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Research groups Environmental Biogeochemistry and Ecotoxicology
Environmental Physical Chemistry
Envirospace Lab
FORE9 Environmental microbiology
Global Resource Information Database (GRID)
ISE Pôle Informatique environnementale
ISE Pôle Sciences
Limnology and Environmental Geology
Microbial Ecology
Project FNS: Grant no. 31003A_150163/1
(ISO format)
LAFFITE, Amandine et al. Hospital Effluents Are One of Several Sources of Metal, Antibiotic Resistance Genes, and Bacterial Markers Disseminated in Sub-Saharan Urban Rivers. In: Frontiers in Microbiology, 2016, vol. 7. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.01128 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:85611

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Deposited on : 2016-08-02

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