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Fluoroquinolones and qnr genes in sediment, well water, soil and human fecal flora in an Indian environment polluted by drug manufacturing

Journal article
Authors Carolin Rutgersson
Jerker Fick
Nachiket Marathe
Erik Kristiansson
Anders Janzon
Martin Angelin
Anders Johansson
Yogesh Shouche
Carl-Fredrik Flach
D. G. Joakim Larsson
Published in Environmental Science and Technology
Volume 48
Issue 14
Pages 7825−7832
ISSN 0013-936X
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Mathematical Sciences, Mathematical Statistics
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Infectious Medicine
Pages 7825−7832
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1021/es501452a
Subject categories Biological Sciences, Microbiology

Abstract

There is increasing concern that environmental antibiotic pollution promotes transfer of resistance genes to the human microbiota. Here, fluoroquinolone-polluted river sediment, well water, irrigated farmland, and human fecal flora of local villagers within a pharmaceutical industrial region in India were analyzed for quinolone resistance (qnr) genes by quantitative PCR. Similar samples from Indian villages farther away from industrial areas, as well as fecal samples from Swedish study participants and river sediment from Sweden, were included for comparison. Fluoroquinolones were detected by MS/MS in well water and soil from all villages located within three km from industrially polluted waterways. Quinolone resistance genes were detected in 42% of well water, 7% of soil samples and in 100% and 18% of Indian and Swedish river sediments, respectively. High antibiotic concentrations in Indian sediment coincided with high abundances of qnr, whereas lower fluoroquinolone levels in well water and soil did not. We could not find support for an enrichment of qnr in fecal samples from people living in the fluoroquinolone-contaminated villages. However, as qnr was detected in 91% of all Indian fecal samples (24% of the Swedish) it suggests that the spread of qnr between people is currently a dominating transmission route.

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