Extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)/AmpC producing bacteria are one of the critical priority resistant bacteria that contributes to treatment failure and increased death rates. In this work we aimed to study the role of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) as reservoirs of ESBL/AmpC producing faecal coliforms. The effluent samples were collected from two WWTPs and faecal coliforms were isolated from all samples using the membrane filtration method. Bacterial isolates were subjected to antimicrobial susceptibility testing toward cefotaxime and ceftazidime. The isolates that showed a resistance phenotype to these antibiotics were considered as putative ESBL/AmpC producing bacteria. These bacteria were subjected to the AmpC test using a protocol with phenylboronic acid. The AmpC negative strains in the AmpC test served as samples for multiplex PCR containing primers specific for blaTEM, blaSHV and blaCTX-M. In total, 498 faecal coliforms were isolated from WWTP effluent samples. For the antibiotic susceptibility testing 99 isolates were considered as ESBL/AmpC producing bacteria. Among them, 26 isolates were found to be positive in the AmpC test. The PCR results revealed that 49 isolates carried blaTEM, 6 bla SHV12, 1 blaCTX-M1 and 5 blaCTX-M15. The ESBL/AmpC producing faecal coliforms in WWTP effluent are discharged to the receiving water environment. These data need to be considered when analysing the risk of WWTP effluent to the environment and to human health, as many of the bacteria identified are not analysed in assessment of risk of pollution from WWTPs globally.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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