Prevalence of antibiotic-resistant Escherichia coli strains in selected rivers of Lesser Poland

  • M. J. Chmiel
  • A. Lenart-Boroń
Original Paper


This study aimed to determine the incidence of antibiotic-resistant strains of Escherichia coli in waters of three Lesser Poland rivers: Raba, Prądnik and Białka. The samples were collected from 30 sites—10 from each river along their course. Membrane filtration method was used to determine the water quality based on the prevalence of fecal coliforms in water. The contaminated samples were used to isolate Escherichia coli for further studies. After confirming the systematic position of randomly isolated strains, the antibiotic resistance tests were performed using the disk-diffusion method following the recommendations of the National Reference Centre for Susceptibility Testing. Escherichia coli were present in all rivers. Complete antibiograms were obtained for 83 isolates; 30 strains originating from the Prądnik river, 37 from Raba and 16 from Białka. A total of 67.47% strains were resistant to at least 1 tested antimicrobial (76.7% isolates from Prądnik, 73% from Raba and 37.5% from Białka), 33.7% of all strains were resistant to at least 5 antimicrobial agents, and one strain was resistant to even 13 antibiotics. The highest resistance was observed for ampicillin and the lowest for imipenem, fosfomycin and meropenem. The obtained results showed that the resistant strains of Escherichia coli are widely spread in the water environment, even in protected areas.


Antibiotic resistance Escherichia coli Fecal coliforms Surface water Water quality 



This study was funded by statutory measures of the University of Agriculture in Kraków, within a Grant No. DS 3102/KM/2013.


  1. Aarestrup FM, Wegener HC, Collignon P (2008) Resistance in bacteria of the food chain: epidemiology and control strategies. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther 6:733–750CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barbusiński K, Nalewajek T (2011) Resistance of Escherichia coli strains to selected antibiotics in municipal wastewater. Gas Water Sanit Eng 11:442–446Google Scholar
  3. Blaak H, de Kruijf P, Hamidjaja RA, van Hoek AHAM, de Roda Husman AM, Schets FM (2014) Prevalence and characteristics of ESBL-producing E. coli in Dutch recreational waters influenced by wastewater treatment plants. Vet Microbiol 171:448–459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Carroll S, Hargreaves M, Goonetilleke A (2005) Sourcing fecal pollution from onsite wastewater treatment systems in surface waters using antibiotic resistance analysis. J Appl Microbiol 99:471–482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chmiel M (2013) Microbiological characteristics and sanitary evaluation of the natural environment at the Ojcowski National Park with particular emphasis on anthropogenic pressure. Scientific Papers of UR Krakow 505 (382). UR Krakow Publisher, p. 200 (in Polish) Google Scholar
  6. CLSI (2012) Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute. Performance standards for antimicrobial disk susceptibility tests; approved standard (M02-A11), vol 32, no 1, 11 edn. CLSIGoogle Scholar
  7. EUCAST (2014) The European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing. Breakpoint tables for interpretation of MICs and zone diameters. Version 4.0. Accessed May 2016
  8. European Parliament and the Council of the European Union (2006) Directive 2006/7/EC of 15 February 2006 concerning the management of bathing water quality and repealing Directive 76/160/EEC. Accessed May 2016
  9. Frąk M (2010) Bacterial pollution in the assessment of the Biebrza River water quality. Water Environ Rural Areas 10(30):73–82 (in Polish) Google Scholar
  10. Gniadkowski M, Żabicka D, Hryniewicz W (2009) Recommendations on the selection of tests to determine the susceptibility of bacteria to antibiotics and chemotherapeutics 2009. Determination of Gram-negative rods. KORLDGoogle Scholar
  11. Grisey E, Belle E, Dat J, Muddry J, Aleya L (2010) Survival of pathogenic and indicator organisms in groundwater and landfill leachate through coupling bacterial enumeration with tracer tests. Desalination 261(1–2):162–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Harwood VJ, Whitlock J, Withington V (2000) Classification of antibiotic resistance patterns of indicator bacteria by discriminant analysis: use in predicting the source of fecal contamination in subtropical waters. Appl Environ Microbiol 66(9):3698–3704CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Holt JG (1994) Bergey’s manual of determinative bacteriology, 9th edn. Williams & Wilkins, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  14. Lenart-Boroń A (2017) Antimicrobial resistance and prevalence of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase genes in Escherichia coli from major rivers in Podhale, southern Poland. Int J Environ Sci Technol 14:241–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lenart-Boroń A, Puchała M, Boroń P (2015) Potential microbiological threat to the Vistula waters by its tributaries in the vicinity of Kraków. Soil Water Res 10(2):130–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lenart-Boroń A, Wolanin A, Jelonkiewicz Ł, Chmielewska-Błotnicka D, Żelazny M (2016) Spatiotemporal variability in microbiological water quality of the Białka river and its relation to the selected physicochemical parameters of water. Water Air Soil Pollut. Google Scholar
  17. Lenart-Boroń A, Wolanin A, Jelonkiewicz E, Żelazny M (2017) The effect of anthropogenic pressure shown by microbiological and chemical water quality indicators on the main rivers of Podhale, southern Poland. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24(14):12938–12948CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Łuczkiewicz A, Jankowska K, Kurlenda J, Olańczuk-Neyman K (2010) Identification and antimicrobial resistance of Enterococcus spp. isolated from surface water. Water Sci Technol 62(2):466–473CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Macauley JJ, Adams CD, Mormile MR (2007) Diversity of tet resistance genes in tetracycline resistant bacteria isolated from swine lagoon with low antibiotic impact. Can J Microbiol 53(12):1307–1315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Magiorakos AP, Srinivasan A, Carey RB, Carmeli Y, Falagas ME, Giske CG, Harbarth S, Hindler JF, Kahlmeter G, Olsson-Liljequist B, Paterson DL, Rice LB, Struelens MJ, Vatopoulos A, Weber JT, Monnet DL (2012) Multidrug-resistant, extensively drug resistant and pandrug-resistant bacteria: an international expert proposal for interim standard definitions for acquired resistance. Clin Microbiol Infect 18(3):268–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mahon CR, Lehman DC, Manuselis G (2007) Textbook of diagnostic microbiology. Elsevier Inc., AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  22. Ministry of the Environment of the Republic of Poland (2004) Regulation of the Minister of the Environment of 11 February 2004 on the classification for presenting the condition of surface water and groundwater, method for their monitoring and the interpretation of the results and presentation of status of these waters. Journal of Laws, No. 32, item 284Google Scholar
  23. Myszograj S, Sadecka Z (2012) Realization of national programme of municipal wastewater treatment and the quality of surface water in Poland. Environ Med 15:97–105 (in Polish) Google Scholar
  24. Pepper IL, Gerba CG (2008) Environmental microbiology. A laboratory manual, 2nd edn. Elsevier AP, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  25. PN-EN ISO 19458:2007 Water quality—sampling for microbiological analysisGoogle Scholar
  26. PN-EN ISO 9308-1:2004. Water quality—detection and enumeration of Escherichia coli and coliform bacteria. Part 1: membrane filtration methodGoogle Scholar
  27. Rompré A, Servais P, Baudart J, De-Roubin MR, Laurent P (2002) Detection and enumeration of coliforms in drinking water: current methods and emerging approaches. J Microbiol Methods 49:31–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Saenz Y, Zarazaga M, Brinas L, Lantero M, Ruiz-Larrea F, Torres C (2001) Antibiotic resistance in Escherichia coli isolates obtained from animals, foods and humans in Spain. Int J Antimicrob Agents 18:353–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. van den Bogaard AE, Stobberingh EE (2000) Epidemiology of resistance to antibiotics—links between animals and humans. Int J Antimicrob Agents 14:327–335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wagner A, Mazur R, Kramarz P (2010) Possibilities of tourist development in the area of Dobczyce Reservoir and the Raba River—a questionnaire study. Prace Komisji Geografii Przemysłu 15:279–285 (in Polish) Google Scholar
  31. Wawrzyk A (2006) Health aspects of drinking water. Aura 3:11–12 (in Polish) Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of Agriculture in KrakówKrakówPoland

Personalised recommendations