Bacteria isolated from a freshwater marsh treatment system on the site of a mine tailings basin were assessed for heavy metal and antibiotic resistance. All isolates were found to be multiply antibiotic and heavy metal resistant. Klebsiella and Pseudomonas spp. demonstrated the highest levels of resistance to the antibiotics and metals tested. The fecal coliform group displayed similar resistance patterns, suggesting the presence of a common plasmid. Examination of the K. oxytoca marsh system isolate for the presence of plasmid deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) revealed six plasmids, ranging in size from 3 × 106 to 50 × 106 daltons (Da). The results of this study suggest that the presence of mine tailings in an aquatic environment may promote the development of antibiotic and heavy metal resistance among the microbial flora.
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