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First Author: LIN Huirong

Disinfectant used in drinking water treatment and distribution system can induce culturable bacteria, including various kinds of pathogenic bacteria, into viable but non-culturable (VBNC) state. The loss of cultural state, resuscitation and environmental persistence of VBNC bacteria will severely damage drinking water microbiological safety and thus pose a risk to public health. The manner in which chlorination treatment induced a VBNC state in Escherichia coli and the antibiotic persistence of VBNC bacteria was investigated. It was found that low dosage of chlorine (0.5 mg L−1) disinfection effectively reduced the culturability of E. coli and induced a VBNC state, after which metabolic activity was reduced and persistence to 9 typical antibiotics was enhanced. Furthermore, RT-qPCR results showed that stress resistance genes (rpoS, marA, ygfA, relE) and ARGs, especially efflux genes were up-regulated compared with culturable cells. The intracellular concentration was tested and found to be lower in VBNC cells than in actively growing E. coli, which suggested a higher efflux rate. The data presented indicate that VBNC E. coli are more persistent than culturable counterparts to a wide variety of antibiotics. VBNC E. coli constitute a potential source of contamination and should be considered during monitoring of drinking water networks.

Contact the author: YU Xin
Page Number: 242-249
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PubYear: 2017
Volume: 230
The full text link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2017.06.047