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Antibiotic resistant bacteria found in fertilizer

Washington, May 29 (ANI): Scientists have found Vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE), an antibiotic resistant bacteria in sewage sludge, a by-product of waste-water treatment frequently used as a fertilizer.

Leena Sahlstrom, from the Finnish Food safety Authority, worked with a team of researchers from the Swedish National Veterinary Institute to study sewage sludge from a waste-water treatment plant in Uppsala, Sweden.

“Antimicrobial resistance is a serious threat in veterinary medicine and human healthcare. Resistance genes can spread from animals, through the food-chain, and back to humans. Sewage sludge may act as one link in this chain,” she said.

The researchers collected sludge from the plant every week for four months, for a total of 77 samples. Of these, 79 percent tested positive for the drug resistant superbugs.

Although VRE themselves are not generally considered to be highly pathogenic, the danger is that they may pass on their resistance genes to other bacteria.

“Our results demonstrate a need for more efficient hygienic treatment of sewage sludge, in order to avoid possible spread of antimicrobial resistance through use of sewage sludge on arable land,” Sahlstrom concluded. (ANI)

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