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Environ Sci Technol. 2011 Apr 1;45(7):2598-604. doi: 10.1021/es103672x. Epub 2011 Mar 9.

Occurrence, abundance, and diversity of tetracycline resistance genes in 15 sewage treatment plants across China and other global locations.

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Environmental Biotechnology Lab, Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.


Activated sludge was sampled from 15 sewage treatment plants (STPs) across China and other global locations to investigate the occurrence, abundance and diversity of tetracycline resistance genes (tet) in the STPs. Occurrence and abundance of 14 tet genes were determined using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and quantitative real time PCR. Six genes (tet(A), tet(C), tet(G), tet(M), tet(S), and tet(X)) were detected in all the STPs, while no sludge sample contained tet(Q). Total concentration of the 14 genes was significantly different among the STPs and average tet abundance of the STPs varied greatly among the tet types (p<0.05). Tet(G) had the highest concentration in the STPs, followed by tet(C), tet(A) and tet(S). Phylogenetic diversity of the genes was investigated using DNA cloning. BLAST analysis showed that all of the 450 cloned sequences matched known tet genes, except for tet(G). The 56 tet(G) clones were grouped into 14 genotypes, among which type G24 had an identical sequence to tet(G) carried by Salmonella enterica or Acinetobacter baumannii, while the other sequences had low similarity to the known genes in GenBank. The results of this study might be useful to understand the diversity of these resistance genes in STPs.

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