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Microbiology and Biotechnology Letters

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Environmental Microbiology  |  Microbial Ecology and Diversity

J. Microbiol. Biotechnol.

Received: February 13, 2021; Revised: April 7, 2021

Waste sorting facilities ambient air as a source of antibiotic resistant bacteria

Ana Calheiros 1, Joana Santos 1, 2, Carla Ramos 1, Marta Vasconcelos 2, 3 and Paulo Fernandes 1, 2*

1Escola Superior de Tecnologia e Gestão, Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo, Rua Escola Industrial e Comercial de Nun’Álvares, 4900-347, Viana do Castelo, Portugal, 2CISAS, Escola Superior de Tecnologia e Gestão, Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo, Rua Escola Industrial e Comercial de Nun’Álvares, 4900-347, Viana do Castelo, Portugal, 3Instituto Politécnico de Coimbra, ESTESC–Coimbra Health School, Saúde Ambiental, Coimbra, Portugal

Correspondence to :
Paulo Fernandes, Av. do Atlântico, 644 Viana do Castelo, Portugal [4900-348]
Tel : +351258819700, Fax : +351258827636, E-mail : paulof@estg.ipvc.pt

Abstract

The antimicrobial resistance in Staphylococcus spp. and Gram negative strains present in air samples collected in waste sorting facilities was assessed. Phenotypic studies have revealed a high percentage of strains of Staphylococcus spp. resistant to methicillin. Genotypically and by RT-PCR, it was found that the mecA gene, usually associated with methicillin resistance, was present in 8% of the Staphylococcus strains isolated. About 30% of the Gram negative strains isolated from the same samples also displayed resistance to meropenem and 79% of these were resistant to multiple antibiotics from different classes, namely cephalosporins and β- lactams. The results suggest that in professional activities with high levels of exposure to biological agents, the quantification and identification of the microbial flora in the work environment, with the determination of the presence of potential agents displaying multi-resistances is of relevance to the risk assessment. The personal protection of workers is of particular relevance in these cases, since many of the strains that exhibit multi-resistance are potential opportunistic agents.

Keywords: Staphylococcus, Enterobacteriaceae, biological risk, antimicrobial resistance

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