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Title: The impact on receiving waters of pharmaceutical residues and antibiotic resistant faecal bacteria found in urban waste water effluents
Author: Tuckwell, Rebecca
ISNI:       0000 0004 5370 0211
Awarding Body: Middlesex University
Current Institution: Middlesex University
Date of Award: 2015
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Pharmaceuticals intended for human use are frequently detected in the aquatic environment. This is predominantly from their excretion following ingestion and subsequent discharge in domestic sewage. Wastewater treatment provides an opportunity to control their release to surface waters however, their removal is often incomplete. This thesis addresses this pharmaceutical pathway and the potential impact on the aquatic environment. The progress of bezafibrate, carbamazepine, ciprofloxacin and clarithromycin were monitored through the treatment stages (screened sewage, settled sewage and final effluent) of a large urban wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and in surface waters up-stream and down-stream of the effluent discharge point. All except clarithromycin were detected in the screened sewage (369 – 2696 ng/L). Reductions in the pharmaceutical concentrations throughout the WWTP (22.5 – 94.3 %) indicate the removal of these compounds is variable. Bezafibrate and carbamazepine were observed at higher concentrations (67.5 - 305.5 ng/L) in surface water down-stream of the effluent discharge point compared to up-stream (31.0 – 116.7 ng/L). The presence of antibiotics in the environment may contribute to the dissemination of antibiotic resistance. The second part of this thesis monitors the prevalence of resistant faecal bacteria through WWTPs and in surface waters. Determination of antibiotic minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values for E.coli and E.faecium indicated that the WWTP did not influence the proportions of the resistant bacterial species. Elevated levels of E.coli with acquired ciprofloxacin resistance increased from not detectable in surface waters up-stream to 9.3% down-stream of the WWTP discharge point. The need for standardisation of the interpretation of MIC data is addressed. The potential of ciprofloxacin within surface water to select for ciprofloxacin resistant E.coli were investigated through microcosm studies in the third part of this study. A significant increase (p < 0.05) in the level of resistant E.coli was observed in microcosms exposed to ≥ 5 μg/L ciprofloxacin. At the ciprofloxacin levels typically detected in surface waters receiving treated effluent (<300 ng/L), the levels of resistance amongst E.coli were maintained.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available