Microplastics as hubs enriching antibiotic-resistant bacteria and pathogens in municipal activated sludge

  22 March 2021

Microplastics can serve as carriers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) and pathogens, representing a pressing concern to aquatic biota and human health. Activated sludge units at municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are “hotspots” converging microplastics and antibiotics. In this batch study with activated sludge samples from three domestic WWTPs, we demonstrated both polyethylene (PE) and polystyrene (PS) microplastics can acclimate biofilms enriched with sulfonamide resistance genes (sul1 and sul2) and the associated mobile genetic element (intI1) in comparison with fine sands as control particles.

Author(s): Dung Ngoc Pham, Lerone Clark, Mengyan Li
Clean Environment  


Unrestricted financial support by:

Antimicrobial Resistance Fighter Coalition


JSS University

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