In Nigeria, pharmaceutical wastewaters are routinely disseminated in river waters; this could be associated with public health risk to humans and animals. In this study, we characterized antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB) and their antibiotic resistance profile as well as screening for sul1 and sul2 genes in pharmaceutical wastewater effluents. Bacterial composition of the wastewater sources was isolated on non-selective media and characterized by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of the 16S rRNA genes, with subsequent grouping using restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and sequencing. The antibiotics sensitivity profiles were investigated using the standard disk diffusion plate method and the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of selected antibiotics on the bacterial isolates. A total of 254 bacterial strains were isolated, and majority of the isolates were identified as Acinetobacter sp., Klebsiella pneumonia, Proteus mirabilis, Enterobacter sp. and Bacillus sp. A total of 218 (85.8%) of the bacterial isolates were multidrug resistant. High MICs values were observed for all antibiotics used in the study. The result showed that 31.7%, 21.7% and 43.3% of the bacterial isolates harbored sul1, sul2, and Intl1 genes, respectively. Pharmaceuticals wastewaters are potential reservoirs of ARBs which may harbor resistance genes with possible risk to public health.
Keywords: antibiotic-resistance genes (ARG), sulfonamide resistance genes; antibiotics-resistant bacteria (ARB); mobile genetic elements; pharmaceutical wastewater.