Does Increasing Solids Retention Time During the Wastewater Treatment Process Affect the Persistence of Antibiotic Resistance Genes?
AuthorWalston, Stefan Eugene
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractAntibiotic resistance (AR) is reducing options for effective treatment of bacterial infections for clinically ill patients throughout the world. Our investigation examined the impact solids retention time (SRT) may have on the degradation of antibiotic compounds, proliferation of AR bacteria, and the persistence of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) during the wastewater treatment process. Results indicate the presence of ARGs related to clinically relevant antibiotics. Data analysis showed that antibiotic classes exhibit different removal efficiencies in the biological treatment processes (i.e. SRT); therefore, operating conditions at each WWTP can be optimized for highest efficiency removal. SRT of 19 days and higher indicated a high removal efficiency for all six ARGs of concern. Ultimately, identifying a critical value to optimize SRTs, where antibiotic degradation is maximized and AR is minimized, will provide information to WWTP operators, allowing treatment optimization to decrease harmful loading of Trace Organic Contaminants (TOrCs) in the environment.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Soil, Water and Environmental Science