Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Chlorine could increase antimicrobial resistance

Ultraviolet light could thwart antimicrobial resistance by damaging DNA material in wastewater.


​Conventional wastewater disinfection using chlorine could facilitate the spread of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria1. Treating some types of wastewater with ultraviolet (UV) light instead could be part of the solution2, according to a study at KAUST’s Water Desalination and Reuse Center, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Bacteria are rapidly developing mechanisms to evade the effects of antimicrobial drugs, and this resistance is increasingly threatening public health. Pharmaceutical compounds and resistant bacteria that reach municipal and agricultural wastewater are partially to blame. Interestingly, the antimicrobial resistance of bacteria in wastewater entering water treatment plants is lower than after the wastewater leaves the treatment plant.

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Image: Mutagens, such as disinfection byproducts, in treated wastewater elicit a colorimetric response in this 96-well plate.
© 2019 KAUST

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