Solar photo-Fenton disinfection of 11 antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) and elimination of representative AR genes. Evidence that antibiotic resistance does not imply resistance to oxidative treatment.Water Res. 2018 10 15; 143:334-345.WR
The emergence of antibiotic resistance represents a major threat to human health. In this work we investigated the elimination of antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB) by solar light and solar photo-Fenton processes. As such, we have designed an experimental plan in which several bacterial strains (Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae) possessing different drug-susceptible and -resistant patterns and structures (Gram-positive and Gram-negative) were subjected to solar light and the photo-Fenton oxidative treatment in water. We showed that both solar light and solar photo-Fenton processes were effective in the elimination of ARB in water and that the time necessary for solar light disinfection and solar photo-Fenton disinfection were similar for antibiotic-susceptible and antibiotic-resistant strains (mostly 180-240 and 90-120 min, respectively). Moreover, the bacterial structure did not significantly affect the effectiveness of the treatment. Similar regrowth pattern was observed (compared to the susceptible strain) and no development of bacteria with higher drug-resistance values was found in waters after any treatment. Finally, both processes were effective to reduce AR genes (ARGs), although solar photo-Fenton was more rapid than solar light. In conclusion, the solar photo-Fenton process ensured effective disinfection of ARB and elimination of ARGs in water (or wastewater) and is a potential mean to ensure limitation of ARB and ARG spread in nature.