Sourcing fecal pollution from onsite wastewater treatment systems in surface waters using antibiotic resistance analysis
Carroll, Steven P., Hargreaves, Megan, & Goonetilleke, Ashantha (2005) Sourcing fecal pollution from onsite wastewater treatment systems in surface waters using antibiotic resistance analysis. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 99(3), pp. 471-482.
Aims: To identify the sources of fecal contamination in investigated surface waters and determine the significance of onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTS) as a major contributor to fecal contamination. Methods and Results: Antibiotic Resistance Patterns (ARP) were established for a library of 717 known E. coli source isolates obtained from human, domesticated animals, livestock and wild sources. Eight commonly used antibiotics, including Amoxicillin, Cephalothin, Erythromycin, Gentamicin, Ofloxacin, Chlortetracycline, Tetracycline and Moxalactam, at four different concentrations were used to obtain ARP’s for E. coli isolates. Discriminant Analysis (DA) was used to differentiate between the ARP of sources isolates. The developed ARP library was found to be adequate for discriminating human from non-human isolates, and was used to classify 256 enumerated E. coli isolates collected from monitored surface water locations. Conclusions: The resulting ARP DA indicated that a majority of the fecal contamination in more rural areas was non-human, however the percentage of human isolates increased significantly in urbanised areas using OWTS for wastewater treatment. Significance of Results: This study signifies the feasibility of using antibiotic resistance patterns for source tracking fecal contamination in surface waters, and linking fecal contamination to OWTS. The information will enable regulatory authorities to implement appropriate management practices to reduce the contamination of water resources caused by high densities and failing OWTS.
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