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Antibiotic resistant bacteria found in municipal drinking water

Khan, Sadia and Knapp, Charles W. and Beattie, Tara K. (2016) Antibiotic resistant bacteria found in municipal drinking water. Environmental Processes, 3 (3). pp. 541-552. ISSN 2198-7505

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Multidrug resistant bacteria in water supply systems have been emerging as a growing public health concern. Many factors affect the source and fate of these bacteria. However, conditions in the distribution systems may contribute in the dispersion of resistance genes among bacterial populations. Through the process of lateral gene transfer, resistance genetic material can be exchanged between species in the microbial population, intensifying the problem of resistance genes. The main aim of this study was to investigate the diversity of microorganisms in tap-water in Glasgow, Scotland, and the occurrence of certain antibiotic resistance genes and gene-transfer mechanisms. Results show that antibiotic resistant bacteria exist at the consumers’ end of the distribution system, some of which also contain integrase genes, which can aid in the dispersion of resistance genes. Presence of such microorganisms indicates that further investigations should be taken to assess the risks to public health.