Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 10, pp 10188–10197 | Cite as

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 SherchanEmail author
Research Article


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 log10 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 log10 GC/100 ml. The overall removal rates of enterococci, HF183, intI1, and ermF were 84.0%, 66.6%, 67.2%, and 13.1%, respectively.


Constructed wetlands Fecal indicator bacteria qPCR ARGs Water reuse 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_4468_MOESM1_ESM.docx (24 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 24 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer G. Lamori
    • 1
  • Jia Xue
    • 1
  • Andri T. Rachmadi
    • 2
  • Gerardo U. Lopez
    • 3
  • Masaaki Kitajima
    • 2
  • Charles P. Gerba
    • 4
  • Ian L. Pepper
    • 4
    • 5
  • John P. Brooks
    • 6
  • Samendra Sherchan
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health and Tropical MedicineTulane UniversityNew OrleansUSA
  2. 2.Division of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  3. 3.School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical SciencesThe University of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Soil, Water and Environmental ScienceThe University of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  5. 5.Water and Energy Sustainable Technology (WEST) CenterThe University of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  6. 6.Genetics and Sustainable Agriculture UnitUSDA-ARSMississippi StateUSA

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