Researchers at the University of Minnesota's College of Science and Engineering reveal that the antibiotic- resistant bacteria cannot survive at 55 degree Celsius or 130 degree Fahrenheit, thus paving the way for improved efficiency in municipal waste treatment.

According to the study, the genes that enable the bacteria to counter the effects of antibiotics will be disabled at the temperature of 55 degree Celsius.

"The current scientific paradigm is that antibiotic resistance is primarily caused by antibiotic use, which has led to initiatives to restrict antibiotic prescriptions and curtail antibiotic use in agriculture," said civil engineering associate professor Timothy LaPara, the leader of the recent University of Minnesota study.

"Our research is one of the first studies that consider a different approach to thwarting the spread of antibiotic resistance by looking at the treatment of municipal wastewater solids."

Antibiotic –resistant bacteria or superbugs are created by excessive antibiotic usage. These bacteria inhabit the gastrointestinal tracts. They go out with defection. Till now this waste was treated at 95 to 97 degree F. Scientists believe that superbugs thrive at this temperature. LaPara explains, “Many digesters are operated at our body temperature, which is perfect for resistant bacteria to survive and maybe even grow."

But, according to LaPara and David Diehl treating the solid municipal waste at 130 degree F can effectively destroy 99.9 percent of the anti-biotic resistant gene in the bacteria. He also adds that this is more cost-effective method than the old because at this high temperature the bacterium produces methane gas which can be used to heat up the reactor.

"Our latest research suggests that high temperature anaerobic digestion offers a novel approach to slow the proliferation of antibiotic resistance,” LaPara said.

"This new method could be used in combination with other actions, like limiting the use of antibiotics, to extend the lifespan of these precious drugs."