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Article

The Effect of the Effluent from a Small-Scale Conventional Wastewater Treatment Plant Treating Municipal Wastewater on the Composition and Abundance of the Microbial Community, Antibiotic Resistome, and Pathogens in the Sediment and Water of a Receiving Stream

1
Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences, University of Tartu, 51003 Tartu, Estonia
2
Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Tartu, 51010 Tartu, Estonia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Abasiofiok Mark Ibekwe and Adelumola Oladeinde
Water 2021, 13(6), 865; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13060865
Received: 2 February 2021 / Revised: 19 March 2021 / Accepted: 19 March 2021 / Published: 23 March 2021
The effluents of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are major contributors of nutrients, microbes—including those carrying antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs)—and pathogens to receiving waterbodies. The effect of the effluent of a small-scale activated sludge WWTP treating municipal wastewater on the composition and abundance of the microbial community as well as the antibiotic resistome and pathogens in the sediment and water of the receiving stream and river was studied using metagenome sequencing and a quantitative approach. Elevated Bacteroidetes proportions in the prokaryotic community, heightened sulfonamide and aminoglycoside resistance determinants proportions, and an increase of up to three orders of magnitude of sul1–sul2–aadA–blaOXA2 gene cluster abundances were recorded in stream water and sediments 0.3 km downstream of a WWTP discharge point. Further downstream, a gradual recovery of affected microbial communities along a distance gradient from WWTP was recorded, culminating in the mostly comparable state of river water and sediment parameters 3.7 km downstream of WWTP and stream water and sediments upstream of the WWTP discharge point. Archaea, especially Methanosarcina, Methanothrix, and Methanoregula, formed a substantial proportion of the microbial community of WWTP effluent as well as receiving stream water and sediment, and were linked to the spread of ARGs. Opportunistic environmental-origin pathogens were predominant in WWTP effluent and receiving stream bacterial communities, with Citrobacter freundii proportion being especially elevated in the close vicinity downstream of the WWTP discharge point. View Full-Text
Keywords: wastewater effluent; receiving stream; microbial community structure; antibiotic resistome; pathogens wastewater effluent; receiving stream; microbial community structure; antibiotic resistome; pathogens
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MDPI and ACS Style

Tiirik, K.; Nõlvak, H.; Truu, M.; Peeb, A.; Kõiv-Vainik, M.; Truu, J. The Effect of the Effluent from a Small-Scale Conventional Wastewater Treatment Plant Treating Municipal Wastewater on the Composition and Abundance of the Microbial Community, Antibiotic Resistome, and Pathogens in the Sediment and Water of a Receiving Stream. Water 2021, 13, 865. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13060865

AMA Style

Tiirik K, Nõlvak H, Truu M, Peeb A, Kõiv-Vainik M, Truu J. The Effect of the Effluent from a Small-Scale Conventional Wastewater Treatment Plant Treating Municipal Wastewater on the Composition and Abundance of the Microbial Community, Antibiotic Resistome, and Pathogens in the Sediment and Water of a Receiving Stream. Water. 2021; 13(6):865. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13060865

Chicago/Turabian Style

Tiirik, Kertu; Nõlvak, Hiie; Truu, Marika; Peeb, Angela; Kõiv-Vainik, Margit; Truu, Jaak. 2021. "The Effect of the Effluent from a Small-Scale Conventional Wastewater Treatment Plant Treating Municipal Wastewater on the Composition and Abundance of the Microbial Community, Antibiotic Resistome, and Pathogens in the Sediment and Water of a Receiving Stream" Water 13, no. 6: 865. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13060865

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