Effects of sulfadiazine and ciprofloxacin on the occurrence of free-living and particle-associated opportunistic pathogens in bulk water of simulated drinking water distribution systems (DWDSs) were investigated. It was found that sulfadiazine and ciprofloxacin greatly promoted the occurrence of opportunistic pathogens including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Legionella pneumophila, Mycobacterium avium and its broader genus Mycobacterium spp., as well as the amoebae Acanthamoeba spp. and Hartmanella vermiformis, in bulk water of DWDSs. Moreover, sulfadiazine and ciprofloxacin exhibited much stronger combined effects on the increase of these opportunistic pathogens. Based on the analysis of the antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), it was verified that EPS production was increased by the antibiotic resistant bacteria arising from the effects of sulfadiazine/ciprofloxacin. The combined effects of sulfadiazine and ciprofloxacin induced the greatest increase of EPS production in DWDSs. Furthermore, the increased EPS with higher contents of proteins and secondary structure β-sheet led to greater bacterial aggregation and adsorption. Meanwhile, large numbers of suspended particles were formed, increasing the chlorine-resistance capability, which was responsible for the enhancement of the particle-associated opportunistic pathogens in bulk water of DWDSs with sulfadiazine/ciprofloxacin. Therefore, sulfadiazine and ciprofloxacin promoted the occurrence of particle-associated opportunistic pathogens in bulk water of DWDSs due to the role of EPS produced by the bacteria with ARGs.
Environmental Pollution – Elsevier
Published: Mar 1, 2018
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