Impact of wastewater treatment plant effluent discharge on the antibiotic resistome in downstream aquatic environments: a mini review


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has emerged as a significant challenge in human health. Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), acting as a link between human activities and the environment, create ideal conditions for the selection and spread of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB). Unfortunately, current treatment processes are ineffective in removing ARGs, resulting in the release of large quantities of ARB and ARGs into the aquatic environment through WWTP effluents. This, in turn, leads to their dispersion and potential transmission to human through water and the food chain. To safeguard human and environmental health, it is crucial to comprehend the mechanisms by which WWTP effluent discharge influences the distribution and diffusion of ARGs in downstream waterbodies. In this study, we examine the latest researches on the antibiotic resistome in various waterbodies that have been exposed to WWTP effluent, highlighting the key influencing mechanisms. Furthermore, recommendations for future research and management strategies to control the dissemination of ARGs from WWTPs to the environment are provided, with the aim to achieve the “One Health” objective.