Impact of Treated Wastewater Irrigation on Antibiotic Resistance in the Soil Microbiome
The world is confronted by an ever increasing shortage of water, especially in arid and semiarid regions such as Africa, South Asia, Southern Europe, and the Middle East. In many of these regions, freshwater is not available for irrigation, and therefore, the reuse of treated or untreated wastewater is the sole water source for agriculture. However, standards are required to ensure safe use of wastewater and to avoid biological risks to the human population. In this context, the dissemination of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) and antibiotic-resistant genes (ARGs) from wastewater irrigation to natural soil and water environments is of public concern because it may contribute to global antibiotic resistance (AR). Here, we discuss the implications of wastewater reuse in agriculture and the impact of treated wastewater (TWW) irrigation on AR in the soil microbiome.