Do freshwater sponges facilitate the transfer of antibiotic resistance in water-borne Enterococcus faecalis isolated from wastewater?

Allison Cartwright, Victoria Daniels, Michael Conwell, Joerg Arnscheidt, James Dooley, Patrick Naughton, Chris McGonigle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

The study investigated if effluent from a municipal wastewater treatment plant contained high numbers of enterococci. It also tested if vancomycin resistance transfer between Enterococcus faecalis isolates from streams may be facilitated by freshwater sponges. A population of the freshwater sponge Ephydatia fluviatilis exists in the Cavan River (Ireland). The river section inhabited by these sponges receives effluents from wastewater treatment. Enterococcus numbers in treatment plant effluents exceeded those in samples taken upstream and downstream of the discharge point. Lower downstream numbers of Enterococcus were attributed to clearance by filterfeeding sponges and to streamwater dilution. The presence of Enterococcus bacteria throughout the whole course of the river was evidence for a multitude of faecal inputs. We tested effects of the presence of sponges on horizontal transfer of vancomycin resistance between riverine E. faecalis isolates. Filter mating experiments demonstrated increased transfer of vancomycin resistance between these bacteria strains as indicated by cultivation on antibiotic-selective plates after enterococci had been exposed to live or dead sponges. There was no significant difference in the number of bacteria with successful gene transfer between the treatments. The Irish river studied received enterococci not only through effluents from a municipal wastewater treatment plant, but also from many other sources. Facilitation of resistance transfer between enterococci strains appeared to be an effect of the presence of sponge tissue as a substrate rather than to rely on filter feeding activity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
PublisherSociety for Applied Microbiology
Pages38-39
Number of pages2
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 3 Oct 2017
EventSfAM antimicrobial resistance conference 2017: Meeting the challenge - London
Duration: 3 Oct 2017 → …

Conference

ConferenceSfAM antimicrobial resistance conference 2017: Meeting the challenge
Period3/10/17 → …

Keywords

  • Porifera
  • freshwater sponges
  • enterococci
  • wastewater
  • antibiotic resistance
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • Cavan

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