2013 Volume 28 Issue 4 Pages 479-486
The overuse of antibiotics has accelerated antibiotic resistance in the natural environment, especially fresh water, generating a potential risk for public health around the world. In this study, antibiotic resistance in Lake Taihu was investigated and this was the first thorough data obtained through culture-dependent methods. High percentages of resistance to streptomycin and ampicillin among bacterial isolates were detected, followed by tetracycline and chloramphenicol. Especially high levels of ampicillin resistance in the western and northern regions were illustrated. Bacterial identification of the isolates selected for further study indicated the prevalence of some opportunistic pathogens and 62.0% of the 78 isolates exhibited multiple antibiotic resistance. The presence of ESBLs genes was in the following sequence: blaTEM > blaSHV > blaCTMX and 38.5% of the isolates had a class I integrase gene. Of all tested strains, 80.8% were able to transfer antibiotic resistance through conjugation. We also concluded that some new families of human-associated ESBLs and AmpC genes can be found in natural environmental isolates. The prevalence of antibiotic resistance and the dissemination of transferable antibiotic resistance in bacterial isolates (especially in opportunistic pathogens) was alarming and clearly indicated the urgency of realizing the health risks of antibiotic resistance to human and animal populations who are dependent on Lake Taihu for water consumption.