There has been a debate about superbugs for some time. More recently, a published scientific article has appeared on how biological wastewater treatments can promote the development of superpathogens (a broader group that includes viruses among others).
It is necessary to clarify some questions and at Amapex we want to analyze the potential repercussions that this could have.
What are superbugs?
“Superbugs” are understood to be all those bacteria that have mutated to protect themselves against their “predators” or have evolved to resist. There has been much debate about how the intake of antibiotics by humans has promoted, and continues to promote, the development of these so-called “superbugs”.
It is difficult to find scientific studies that advocate eliminating antibiotics so necessary for human health, but it has been emphasized that it is necessary to control their intake, using them only for strictly necessary cases and not ingesting them as something on a regular basis.
In the treatment of industrial wastewater, it is much more difficult to find this type of products derived from human ingestion, since antibiotics are not used in industrial production processes (except in pharmaceutical industries for obvious reasons), with which the resistance of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens could only occur against other similar organisms of biological origin.
In the methodological annexes of the aforementioned study, we can find which are the analyzed superpathogens and which are the Nature Based Solutions (NBS) that have promoted them.
Also, in this article, purification plants that have a biological system within their process are analyzed, but it is urban wastewater, in which antibiotics can be found as pollutants of these waters.
Superbugs and Superpathogens in Industrial Waters
In biological treatments for wastewater treatment, it is inevitable that a multitude of microorganisms are present that contribute to the degradation of pollutants.
For example, the way in which we work at Amapex, with environmental biotechnology for the treatment of industrial wastewater, is clear: take advantage of bacteria that are present in these biological treatments, which are also harmless to human, animal and plant health, and ensure that their population is greater than the rest, so that they have an advantage in number, not in superior capacities to other microorganisms that may be pathogens.
The microorganisms that we use to degrade pollutants in industrial wastewater are harmless to human, animal and plant health.
This type of treatment is recognized by Council Directive CEE 93/88 of 12/10/1983, about the protection of workers against the risks related to exposure to biological agents during work.
It is interesting to analyze the data annexed to the study, where these issues can become clearer when looking at the wastewater treatment plants and the treatment of the analyzed pathogens. You can see that information here (content in English)
To summarize, there is much research to be done as to what this type of purification systems can entail in the generation of superpathogens, especially in the treatment of industrial wastewater, but it is clear that they are systems that respect the health of the planet.