Removal of fecal indicator bacteria and antibiotic resistant genes in constructed wetlands

Jennifer G. Lamori, Jia Xue, Andri T. Rachmadi, Gerardo U. Lopez, Masaaki Kitajima, Charles P Gerba, Ian L Pepper, John P. Brooks, Samendra Sherchan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Wastewater discharge evidently increased bacterial diversity in the receiving waterbodies. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a constructed wetland in reducing fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) and antibiotic resistant genes (ARGs). We determined the prevalence and attenuation of fecal indicator bacteria including Escherichia coli and enterococci, along with ARGs, and human-associated Bacteroidales (HF183) markers by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) method. Three types of water samples (inlet, intermediate, and outlet) from a constructed wetland were collected once a month from May to December in 2013. The overall reduction of E. coli was 50.0% based on culture method. According to the qPCR result, the overall removal rate of E. coli was only 6.7%. Enterococci were found in 62.5% of the wetland samples. HF183 genetic marker was detected in all final effluent samples with concentration ranging from 1.8 to 4.22 log 10 gene copies (GC)/100 ml. Of the ARGs tested, erythromycin resistance genes (ermF) were detected in 79.2% of the wetland samples. The class 1 integrase (intI1) was detected in all water samples with concentration ranging from 0.83 to 5.54 log 10 GC/100 ml. The overall removal rates of enterococci, HF183, intI1, and ermF were 84.0%, 66.6%, 67.2%, and 13.1%, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10188-10197
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019


  • ARGs
  • Constructed wetlands
  • Fecal indicator bacteria
  • Water reuse
  • qPCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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