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Current Developments in Biotechnology and Bioengineering
2020, Pages 103-148

Microbiology of hospital wastewater

Rajwinder Kaur, Bhoomika Yadav, R.D.Tyagi

INRS-Eau, Terre, Environnement–Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Quebec City, QC, Canada.


The study of hospital wastewater (HWW) microbiology is important to understand the pollution load, growth of particular pathogenic microbes, shift and drift in microbial community, development and spread of antibiotic resistance in microbes, and subsequent change in treatment efficiencies. This chapter investigates the potential microbes such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites present in HWW along with the diseases associated and methods of treatment used. Due to the indiscriminate release of antibiotics from hospitals, HWW serves as a hotspot for emergence of antibiotic-resistance genes (ARGs) and antibiotic-resistance bacteria. This chapter discusses the ARGs occurrence in HWW, their prevalence in the environment, the molecular tools used for identification, and different mechanisms of horizontal gene transfer. Thus better understanding of the microbiology of HWW could further help in development of advanced treatment technologies for effective removal of microbes and their bioproducts (toxins and infectious nucleic acid) from HWW and contaminated water.

Keywords: Pathogens; antibiotic-resistance genes; metagenomics; hospital wastewater; horizontal gene transfer.

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