Multidrug-resistant Enterobacteriaceae from indoor air of an urban wastewater treatment plant

  • Juliana V. Teixeira
  • Pedro Cecílio
  • Daniela Gonçalves
  • Vítor J. P. Vilar
  • Eugénia Pinto
  • Helena N. FerreiraEmail author


Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) have been recognized as sources of bioaerosols that may act as vehicles for dissemination of pathogens and multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria. The occurrence of MDR Enterobacteriaceae in indoor air of an urban WWTP was investigated. A possible airborne contamination with extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) and carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae was also explored. Fourteen of 39 Enterobacteriaceae isolates were MDR. These isolates were found at all sampling sites, mainly at the secondary sedimentation settings. The highest levels of resistance were detected in three different species: Enterobacter cloacae, Escherichia coli, and Citrobacter freundii. Furthermore, one of the airborne E. coli isolates was phenotypically characterized as an ESBL producer. Additionally, five isolates showed non-susceptibility to at least one carbapenem tested. The presence of genes encoding relevant beta-lactamase types in these ESBL-producing and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae isolates was investigated by PCR. Results showed amplification for bla CTX-M and bla OXA. These findings are relevant both in terms of occupational/public health and of environmental dissemination of MDR bacteria.


Airborne Enterobacteriaceae Multidrug-resistant ESBL Carbapenemase Wastewater treatment plant 



Financial support for this work was mainly provided by FCT (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia) under the projects PTDC/EQU-EQU/100554/2008 and CEQUIMED-PEst-OE/SAU/UI4040/2014. J.V. Teixeira would like to acknowledge her fellowship (SFRH/BD/78477/2011) supported by FCT


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juliana V. Teixeira
    • 1
  • Pedro Cecílio
    • 2
  • Daniela Gonçalves
    • 2
  • Vítor J. P. Vilar
    • 3
  • Eugénia Pinto
    • 1
    • 4
  • Helena N. Ferreira
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.CEQUIMED, Microbiology Service, Biological Sciences Department, Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.REQUIMTE, Microbiology Service, Biological Sciences Department, Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  3. 3.LSRE—Laboratory of Separation and Reaction Engineering—Associate Laboratory LSRE/LCM, Faculty of EngineeringUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  4. 4.CIIMAR/CIMAR—Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental ResearchUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal

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