Dissemination prevention of antibiotic resistant and facultative pathogenic bacteria by ultrafiltration and ozone treatment at an urban wastewater treatment plant
Hembach, N. / Alexander, J. / Hiller, C. / Wieland, A. / Schwartz, T. (2019)
Nature Scientific Reports Volume 9, 2019, Article number: 12843, doi:org/10.1038/s41598-019-49263-1
- Date: September 2019
Conventional wastewater treatment is not sufficient for the removal of hygienically relevant bacteria and achieves only limited reductions. This study focuses on the reduction efficiencies of two semi-industrial ultrafiltration units operating at a large scale municipal wastewater treatment plant. In total, 7 clinically relevant antibiotic resistance genes, together with 3 taxonomic gene markers targeting specific facultative pathogenic bacteria were analysed via qPCR analyses before and after advanced treatment. In parallel with membrane technologies, an ozone treatment (1 g ozone/g DOC) was performed for comparison of the different reduction efficiencies. Both ultrafiltration units showed increased reduction efficiencies for facultative pathogenic bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes of up to 6 log units, resulting mostly in a strong reduction of the bacterial targets. In comparison, the ozone treatment showed some reduction efficiency, but was less effective compared with ultrafiltration due to low ozone dosages frequently used for micro-pollutant removal at municipal wastewater treatment plants. Additionally, metagenome analyses demonstrated the accumulation of facultative pathogenic bacteria, antibiotic resistance genes, virulence factor genes, and metabolic gene targets in the back flush retentate of the membranes, which opens further questions about retentate fluid material handling at urban wastewater treatment plants.