Antibiotic-resistant strains of Escherichia coli in urban atmospheric dust aerosols of Moscow city – the potential human health risks

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Anna Glushakova, Tatiana Prokof'eva*, Ludmila Lysak, Nikita Goncharov, Andrey Belov

Atmospheric dust aerosols of Moscow city contain significant numbers of particles enriched in phosphorus and other biophillous elements, which likely indicate faecal contamination. A high diversity of Enterobacteriaceae, including the opportunistic and potentially pathogenic species isolated from the dust aerosols, confirmed the presence of faeces (Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica, etc.). Therefore, airborne dust is an active transmitter of microbial pollution within the megalopolis. It was found that about 27% of the isolated from dust E. coli strains were resistant to widely used antibiotics. The traffic areas were characterized by a significantly higher abundance of antibiotic-resistant E. coli strains as compared to the recreational areas of Moscow city (25 vs. 7 strains). These fundings clearly demonstrate a high health risk of dust exposure to people in the area of a strong anthropogenic impact. The most adverse properties were observed in wintertime accumulations of dust aerosols because urban soils covered with snow have a low activity as a «bacterial filter».

Keywords: atmospheric solid; anthropogenic impact; phosphorus; faecal contamination; Escherichia coli; Enterobacteriaceae, saprotrophic soil bacterial complex; antibiotic resistance; city environment

Proscience vol. 8

Pp 11-19

DOI: 10.14644/dust2021.002