TU Berlin

Environmental MicrobiologyReclaim

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EU Project Reclaim

Development of Real-Time PCR assays for the quantification of antibiotic resistance genes and selected pathogens at different stages of water purification and reclaim processes (EU Project RECLAIM, www.reclaim-water.org)

Alternative water sources like reclaimed municipal wastewater are very promising options in integrated water management. Aquifer recharge features advantages such as additional natural treatment, storage capacity to buffer seasonal variations of supply and demand and mixing with natural water bodies promoting the acceptance of further uses, particularly indirect potable use. Major concerns for the safety of this alternative water source are microbial and chemical contaminants in wastewater, e.g. traces of pharmaceuticals, antibiotic resistances and pathogenic bacteria. To assess microbial quality of reclaimed water sensitive quantitative techniques for pathogen detection have to be developed and applied to recharged water bodies in regular intervals. For pathogen risk assessment we selected three human pathogenic bacteria with well documented long-time survival capabilities in water for quantitative analysis. Species specific quantitative Real-time PCR assays will be developed for the pathogens, Helicobacter pylori, Yersinia enterocolitica and Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis and adapted for water samples significantly differing in organic and inorganic pollutant content. Furthermore, Real-time PCR assays for the quantitative detection of antibiotic resistance genes conferring resistance towards six different antibiotics, namely ampicillin, methicillin, extended spectrum b-lactams, tetracycline, erythromycin and vancomycin will be designed. The assays will be applied to water samples from different stages of three water reclamation systems generating water destined for irrigation or drinking water purposes. Pathogen and antibiotic resistance gene removal efficiency of the three systems will be evaluated to determine the key components of the systems required for microbial contaminant removal.

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