Summer Research Fellowship Programme of India's Science Academies

Characterization of antibiotic and heavy metal resistant bacteria at Delhi-Agra stretch of river Yamuna

Namita Nandal

Department of Microbiology, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra, Haryana

Dr. Ilora Ghosh

Lab No. 103, School of Environmental Science, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi


 Yamuna (Jumna) is a tributary of Ganges, considered a holy river, which is going through slow death because of various anthropogenic activities like dumping of garbage and untreated sewage, discharge of industrial effluents, and accumulation of pollutants such as antibiotics and heavy metals, which make its water unfit for use. One of the greatest concerns for the consumers of Yamuna water is the contamination with pathogenic bacteria that cause a variety of diseases and illnesses. The aim of this study is to isolate and identify the unknown heavy metal and antibiotic resistant bacteria from water and sediment samples collected from the Delhi-Agra stretch of Yamuna. Antibiotic resistant bacteria were characterized using antibiotic sensitivity tests against a variety of antibiotics, as per the guidelines of the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI). The primary screening of the isolates was done using Mercury, after which the resistant isolates were assessed for multiple heavy metal and antibiotic resistance. A high percentage of multiple heavy metal resistant bacteria    and high zone of inhibition against tested antibiotics of a majority of the isolates suggests that Yamuna harbors harmful heavy metal and antibiotic resistant bacteria that threatens human health. Therefore, there is an urgent need to take stringent measures to alleviate these pollution loads and save an ailing river.

Keywords: Yamuna, bacteria, heavy metal, antibiotic resistance, anthropogenic influence, plasmid isolation.

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