1887

Abstract

This paper unravels the occurrence of plasmid-mediated antibiotic resistance in association with tolerance to heavy metals among clinically relevant bacteria isolated from sewage wastewater. The bacteria isolated were identified following conventional phenotypic and/or molecular methods, and were subjected to multiple-antibiotic resistance (MAR) profiling. The isolates were tested against the heavy metals Hg, Cd, Cr and Cu. SDS-PAGE and agarose gel electrophoretic analyses were performed, respectively, for the characterization of heavy metal stress protein and R-plasmid among the isolated bacteria. Principal component analysis was applied in determining bacterial resistance to antibiotics and heavy metals. Both lactose-fermenting () and non-fermenting ( and ) Gram-negative bacterial strains were procured, and showed MAR phenotypes with respect to three or more antibiotics, along with resistance to the heavy metals Hg, Cd, Cr and Cu. The Gram-positive bacteria, , isolated had ‘ampicillin–kanamycin–nalidixic acid’ resistance. The bacterial isolates had MAR indices of 0.3–0.9, indicating their (, , and ) origin from niches with high antibiotic pollution and human faecal contamination. The Gram-negative bacteria isolated contained a single plasmid (≈54 kb) conferring multiple antibiotic resistance, which was linked to heavy metal tolerance; the SDS-PAGE analysis demonstrated the expression of heavy metal stress proteins (≈59 and ≈10 kDa) in wastewater bacteria with a Cd stressor. The study results grant an insight into the co-occurrence of antibiotic resistance and heavy metal tolerance among clinically relevant bacteria in sewage wastewater, prompting an intense health impact over antibiotic usage.

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2020-02-10
2020-02-28
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