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Water Res. 2018 Feb 1;129:277-286. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2017.11.029. Epub 2017 Nov 13.

Biofilms as a sink for antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in the Yangtze Estuary.

Author information

1
Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science (Ministry of Education), School of Geographical Sciences, East China Normal University, 500 Dongchuan Road, Shanghai 200241, China.
2
Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science (Ministry of Education), School of Geographical Sciences, East China Normal University, 500 Dongchuan Road, Shanghai 200241, China; State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research, East China Normal University, 3663 North Zhongshan Road, Shanghai 200062, China. Electronic address: yyang@geo.ecnu.edu.cn.
3
Charles E. Via, Jr., Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech, 418 Durham Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA.
4
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh 15213, USA.
5
The Center for NanoBioEarth, Department of Geosciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA; Geosciences Group, Energy and Environment Directorate, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA 99352, USA.

Abstract

Biofilms are ubiquitous throughout aquatic environments and they are thought to promote the acquisition and dissemination of antibiotic resistant genes (ARGs). This study focused on the occurrence and distribution of five types of ARG in naturally-occurring biofilms, in comparison to associated sediment and water samples, from the Yangtze Estuary, which borders the meta-city of Shanghai, China. The detection frequency and abundances of most ARGs showed the following order: biofilm > sediment > water, which can be attributed to a high level of antibiotics and metals that can accelerate the generation and propagation of ARGs in biofilms. Most of ARG abundances were contributed by extracellular DNA (eDNA) in biofilm and sediment samples. ARGs (sul1, sul2, tetA and tetW) in eDNA were significantly correlated with TOC in both biofilm and sediment samples. Furthermore, both intracellular DNA-associated ARGs per gram of microbial biomass carbon (MBC) and eDNA-associated ARGs per gram of non-MBC and were higher in biofilms than sediments, and the partitioning coefficients of ARGs in eDNA between biofilm and water were higher than those between sediment and water. Our results provide new insight for evaluating the occurrence and abundance of ARGs in aquatic environments, confirming that biofilms are a significant sink for ARGs in the estuarine environment.

KEYWORDS:

Antibiotic resistance genes; Biofilm; Extracellular DNA; Partitioning coefficients; Yangtze estuary

PMID:
29156392
DOI:
10.1016/j.watres.2017.11.029
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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