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Chemosphere. 2015 Jan;119:1379-1385. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.02.040. Epub 2014 Mar 12.

Occurrence of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes in a sewage treatment plant and its effluent-receiving river.

Author information

1
State Key Laboratory of Environmental Criteria and Risk Assessment, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012, China; Laboratory of Riverine Ecological Conservation and Technology, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012, China.
2
State Key Laboratory of Environmental Criteria and Risk Assessment, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012, China; Water Conservancy and Civil Engineering College, Shandong Agricultural University, Taian 271000, China.
3
State Key Laboratory of Environmental Criteria and Risk Assessment, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012, China.
4
State Key Laboratory of Environmental Criteria and Risk Assessment, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012, China; Laboratory of Riverine Ecological Conservation and Technology, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012, China. Electronic address: zhangyuan@craes.org.cn.
5
Water Conservancy and Civil Engineering College, Shandong Agricultural University, Taian 271000, China.

Abstract

The extensive use of antibiotics has caused the contamination of both antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in the environment. In this study, the abundance and distribution of antibiotics and ARGs from a sewage treatment plant (STP) and its effluent-receiving river in Beijing China were characterized. Three classes of antibiotics including tetracycline, sulfonamide and quinolone were quantified by LC-MS/MS. In the secondary effluent they were detected at 195, 2001 and 3866 ng L(-1), respectively, which were higher than in the receiving river water. A total of 13 ARGs (6 tet genes: tetA, tetB, tetE, tetW, tetM and tetZ, 3 sulfonamide genes: sul1, sul2 and sul3, and 4 quinolone genes: gryA, parC, qnrC and qnrD) were determined by quantitative PCR. For all ARGs, sulfonamide resistance genes were present at relatively high concentrations in all samples, with the highest ARG concentration above 10(-1). ARGs remained relatively stable along each sewage treatment process. The abundances of detected ARGs from the STP were also higher than its receiving river. Bivariate correlation analysis showed that relative tet gene copies (tetB/16S-rRNA and tetW/16S-rRNA) were strongly correlated with the concentrations of tetracycline residues (r(2)>0.8, p<0.05), while no significant correlations occurred between sulfonamides and sul genes. A negative correlation between the relative abundance of quinolone resistance gene (qnrC/16S-rRNA) and the concentrations of enrofloxacin (ENR) was also determined. The difference of ARGs levels in the raw influent and secondary effluent suggested that the STP treatment process may induce to increase the abundance of resistance genes. The results showed that the sewage was an important repository of the resistance genes, which need to be effectively treated before discharge into the natural water body.

KEYWORDS:

Antibiotic resistant genes (ARGs); Antibiotics; Receiving river; Sewage treatment plant (STP)

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