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: Mycologist promotes agarikon as a possibility to counter growing antibiotic resistance

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

European league-tables for antibiotic resistance revealed

Jul 08, 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 ...

Too much nanotechnology may be killing beneficial bacteria

Apr 29, 2008

Too much of a good thing could be harmful to the environment. For years, scientists have known about silver’s ability to kill harmful bacteria and, recently, have used this knowledge to create consumer products containing ...

Cuts in antibacterial soap use sought

Jul 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.

Study: Drugs from sewage not dangerous

Jul 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.

Recommended for you

YEATS protein potential therapeutic target for cancer

Oct 23, 2014

Federal Express and UPS are no match for the human body when it comes to distribution. There exists in cancer biology an impressive packaging and delivery system that influences whether your body will develop cancer or not.

Precise and programmable biological circuits

Oct 23, 2014

A team led by ETH professor Yaakov Benenson has developed several new components for biological circuits. These components are key building blocks for constructing precisely functioning and programmable bio-computers.

User comments : 1

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.