Advances in Recovering Plasmids from Wastewater: A State of the Science

by Gilmore, Kevin
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Publisher: IWA Publishing

Publication Date: November 13, 2016

ISBN: 9781780408545

Binding: Kobo eBook

Availability: eBook

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Plasmids are small rings of double stranded DNA that are found in all three domains of life: the Bacteria, the Archaea, and the Eukarya. Plasmids encode for proteins that provide their host organisms multiple abilities, such as the ability to transfer genetic information, degrade xenobiotic compounds, resist antibiotics, and outcompete other cells. Plasmids are similar in size to viruses, mostly in the submicron size range; however, plasmid size is normally described by the number of DNA base pairs as opposed to the physical size.Although plasmids are found in all three domains of life, plasmids are most commonly associated with bacteria. Because wastewater harbors bacteria and WRRFs harness bacteria for biological treatment processes, wastewater contains a variety of plasmids and plasmid hosts. Sources of plasmids in wastewater include bacteria excreted from humans and bacteria present in the environment. Researchers have found high levels of bacteria with antibiotic resistant plasmids in the fecal matter of antibiotic-treated children and adults. Bacterial hosts transport plasmids throughout wastewater treatment processes, and as bacteria die and rupture the plasmids are released into the wastewater. Although research suggests that naked plasmids degrade in wastewater, WRRF effluents and biosolids have been shown to contain plasmids and may contribute to the spread of antibiotic resistance.Plasmids and their associated genetic information represent a potential recoverable resource from wastewater. These small rings of intracellular DNA not only encode the genes that facilitate their own transfer and propagation but also harbor functional genes related to a variety of processes. The biotechnology industry has harnessed the information on plasmids to improve multiple industries, such as agriculture, chemical production, paper, textiles, health care, environment, and biotechnology. Plasmids that function to produce antibiotics, degrade xenobiotic compounds, and ...