Photodynamic inactivation of multidrug-resistant bacteria in hospital wastewaters: influence of residual antibiotics
One environmental concern related to hospital effluents is discharge of them without preliminary treatment. Antimicrobial photodynamic inactivation (PDI) may represent an alternative to the traditional expensive, unsafe and not always effective disinfection methods. The main goal of this work was to assess the efficiency of PDI on clinical multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria in hospital wastewaters in order to evaluate its potential use in treating hospital effluents. The efficiency of PDI was assessed using a cationic porphyrin as the photosensitizer (PS), four MDR bacteria either in phosphate buffered saline or in filtrated hospital wastewaters. The synergistic effect of PDI and antibiotics (ampicillin and chloramphenicol) was also evaluated, as well as the effect of the surfactant sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS). The results show the efficient inactivation of MDR bacteria in PBS (reduction of 6–8 log after 270 min of irradiation at 40 W m−2 with 5.0 μM of PS). In wastewater, the inactivation of the four MDR bacteria was again efficient and the decrease in bacterial survival starts even sooner. A faster decrease in bacterial survival occurred when PDI was combined with the addition of antibiotics, at sub-inhibitory and inhibitory concentrations, but the SDS did not affect the PDI efficiency. It can be concluded that PDI has potential to be an effective alternative for the inactivation of MDR bacteria in hospital wastewaters and that the presence of antibiotics may enhance its effectiveness.