Antibiotic resistant bacteria found in fertilizer

May 29, 2009

Vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE) have been found in sewage sludge, a by-product of waste-water treatment frequently used as a fertilizer. Researchers writing in the open access journal Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica point out the danger of antibiotic resistance genes passing into the human food chain.

Leena Sahlström, from the Finnish Food safety Authority, worked with a team of researchers from the Swedish National Veterinary Institute to study sewage sludge from a waste-water treatment plant in Uppsala, Sweden. She said, "Antimicrobial resistance is a serious threat in veterinary medicine and human healthcare. Resistance genes can spread from animals, through the food-chain, and back to humans. Sewage sludge may act as one link in this chain".

The researchers collected sludge from the plant every week for four months, for a total of 77 samples. Of these, 79% tested positive for the drug resistant . Although VRE themselves are not generally considered to be highly pathogenic, the danger is that they may pass on their resistance genes to other bacteria. Sahlström concludes, "Our results demonstrate a need for more efficient hygienic treatment of sewage sludge, in order to avoid possible spread of antimicrobial resistance through use of sewage sludge on arable land".

More information: resistant enterococci (VRE) in Swedish sewage sludge, Leena Sahlström, Verena Rehbinder, Ann Albihn, Anna Aspan and Björn Bengtsson, Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica (in press), http://www.actavetscand.com/

Source: BioMed Central (news : web)

Explore further: Study: Drugs from sewage not dangerous

Related Stories

Study: Drugs from sewage not dangerous

July 14, 2006

A Canadian study has suggested adverse effects are unlikely on aquatic life from drugs passed through human waste released from sewage treatment plants.

Cuts in antibacterial soap use sought

July 25, 2006

Officials in Cook County, Ill., have asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce the widespread use of antibacterial agents in soaps.

European league-tables for antibiotic resistance revealed

July 8, 2008

Tests of antibiotic resistance in cattle have revealed stark variation across thirteen European countries. The results, published today in BioMed Central’s open-access journal Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, show that major ...

Recommended for you

Genomes uncover life's early history

August 24, 2015

A University of Manchester scientist is part of a team which has carried out one of the biggest ever analyses of genomes on life of all forms.

Rare nautilus sighted for the first time in three decades

August 25, 2015

In early August, biologist Peter Ward returned from the South Pacific with news that he encountered an old friend, one he hadn't seen in over three decades. The University of Washington professor had seen what he considers ...

Why a mutant rice called Big Grain1 yields such big grains

August 24, 2015

(Phys.org)—Rice is one of the most important staple crops grown by humans—very possibly the most important in history. With 4.3 billion inhabitants, Asia is home to 60 percent of the world's population, so it's unsurprising ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Soylent
not rated yet May 30, 2009
Dumping toxic sewage sludge with all manner of drug residues and nasty crap onto food may not be the best idea.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.