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Fate of Chlortetracycline- and Tylosin-Resistant Bacteria in an Aerobic Thermophilic Sequencing Batch Reactor Treating Swine Waste

Chénier, Martin R., Juteau, Pierre
Microbial ecology 2009 v.58 no.1 pp. 86-97
denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, effluents, feeds, ribosomal DNA, polymerase chain reaction, genes, Alcaligenes, nucleotide sequences, Enterococcus hirae, thermophilic bacteria, chlortetracycline, Pseudomonas, food waste, pathogens, swine
Antibiotics have been added to animal feed for decades. Consequently, food animals and their wastes constitute a reservoir of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The objective of this work was to characterize the impact of an aerobic thermophilic biotreatment on aerobic, antibiotic-resistant bacteria in swine waste. The proportion of tylosin- and chlortetracycline-resistant bacteria grown at 25°C, 37°C, and 60°C decreased after treatment, but they were still abundant (10² to 10⁸ most probable number ml⁻¹) in the treated swine waste. The presence of 14 genes conferring resistance to tylosin and chlortetracycline was assessed by polymerase chain reaction in bacterial populations grown at 25°C, 37°C, and 60°C, with or without antibiotics. In 22 cases, genes were detected before but not after treatment. The overall gene diversity was wider before [tet(BLMOSY), erm(AB)] than after [tet(LMOS), erm(B)] treatment. Analysis by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of amplified 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) fragments generally showed a reduction of the bacterial diversity, except for total populations grown at 60°C and for tylosin-resistant populations grown at 37°C. The latter were further investigated by cloning and sequencing their 16S rDNA. Phylotypes found before treatment were all closely related to Enterococcus hirae, whereas six different phylotypes, related to Pseudomonas, Alcaligenes, and Pusillimonas, were found after treatment. This work demonstrated that the aerobic thermophilic biotreatment cannot be considered as a means for preventing the dissemination of aerobic antibiotic-resistant bacteria and their resistance genes to the environment. However, since pathogens do not survive the biotreatment, the effluent does not represent an immediate threat to animal or human health.