Seasonal prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the river Mula-Mutha, India

  • Rutuja Dhawde
  • Ragini Macaden
  • Appasaheb Ghadge
  • Tannaz BirdiEmail author


The river Mula-Mutha in Pune District, India, is linked to a number of major drinking water sources in villages situated along its banks. This study assessed the seasonal variations in bacteriological water quality along the Mula-Mutha river using Thermotolerant Faecal Coliforms (TFC) as indicator bacteria for faecal contamination as per the WHO standard guidelines for drinking water. Eight points were chosen based on a survey carried out focusing on different sources of contamination which may influence water quality. Based on the survey of antibiotics used to treat routine diseases and ailments in villages, ceftazidime and ciprofloxacin were selected to screen and enumerate antibiotic-resistant (AR) TFC. The water samples were collected and analyzed along the Mula-Mutha riverbank in three seasons. The highest TFC load was recorded during the monsoon at all eight sampling points. The percentages of ciprofloxacin-resistant TFC among the TFC isolated in post-monsoon, pre-monsoon and monsoon were 21%, 2.3%, and 64%, to those resistant to ceftazidime 9%, 0.5%, and 36% and to the combination 38%, 0.7%, and 43%, respectively. Downstream from Manjari, at Khamgaontek, antibiotic-resistant TFC were detected in all three seasons though the number isolated was less. Still further downstream at Walki, the numbers decreased considerably. The findings highlighted the heavy load of AR TFC detected in the river Mula-Mutha at points adjoining Pune City. This was probably due to the release of domestic and hospital wastes from the city into the river.


Mula-Mutha Thermotolerant Faecal Coliforms Ciprofloxacin Ceftazidime 



The authors thank Dr. Nerges Mistry and Dr. Isabel Seifert-Dahn for their suggestions and comments during undertaking of the study and preparation of the manuscript.

Author contributions

Rutuja Dhawde, Dr. Tannaz Birdi and Dr. Ragini Macaden defined the sampling and analysis framework. Rutuja Dhawde did the bacteriological analysis and analyzed the data. Rutuja Dhawde wrote the paper with major contributions from Dr. Ragini Macaden and Dr. Tannaz Birdi. Appasaheb Ghadge carried out water sampling on the field.

Funding information

This work is financially supported by the Research Council of Norway (Project No. 216064/E10), Norway.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethics approval

The project 216064/E10 does not involve medical or health-related research. The Norwegian National Research Ethics Committee (NENT) is responsible for assessing and judging any possible transgressions in this area. The follow-up of research ethics is also covered internally as part of our ISO 9001 certification and processes. NENT has confirmed that no application for ethical approval is required.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rutuja Dhawde
    • 1
  • Ragini Macaden
    • 2
  • Appasaheb Ghadge
    • 3
  • Tannaz Birdi
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.The Foundation for Medical ResearchMumbaiIndia
  2. 2.St John’s Research InstituteBangaloreIndia
  3. 3.The Foundation for Research in Community HealthPuneIndia

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