Simultaneous inactivation of multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli and enterococci by peracetic acid in urban wastewater: Exposure-based kinetics and comparison with chlorine.Water Res. 2021 Sep 01; 202:117403.WR
The presence of antibiotic resistance in wastewater sparked a great interest in investigating the inactivation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria by disinfecting agents. In this study, the inactivation kinetics of multidrug-resistant E. coli and enterococci by an emerging environmentally-friendly disinfectant, peracetic acid (PAA), in wastewater and phosphate buffer at pH 6.5 and pH 7.5, were characterized. It was demonstrated that the inactivation of the studied multidrug-resistant bacteria was governed by their exposure to PAA, i.e., integral of the PAA concentration over time (integral CT or ICT). Both regimes of the PAA inactivation of bacteria, i.e., initial resistance followed by a faster inactivation, were described well by an ICT-based Chick-Watson inactivation kinetic model. In wastewater at pH 7.5, the model-predicted ICT requirements showed that the multidrug-resistant enterococci were less susceptible to PAA than E. coli, e.g., to achieve a 3-log reduction, an ICT of 32.7 mg min/L and 23.4 mg min/L was needed, respectively. No regrowth of the studied bacteria was observed after 72 h from PAA disinfection at 25 ± 1 °C. Soluble constituents of wastewater decreased the PAA inactivation of both multidrug-resistant bacteria, i.e., higher inactivation was observed in phosphate buffer than wastewater at the same pH of 7.5. In phosphate buffer, a lower pH of 6.5 resulted in higher inactivation of multidrug-resistant E. coli compared with pH 7.5, but it did not affect the PAA inactivation of multidrug-resistant enterococci. A comparison with the most commonly used chemical disinfectant, chlorine, showed higher inactivation of both multidrug-resistant bacteria by chlorine and higher chlorine decay than PAA. The results of the present study may have implications in designing a PAA disinfection process, aiming at controlling antibiotic resistance, in terms of selecting a suitable fecal indicator and optimizing disinfectant dosing.