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Industrial wastewater treatment plant enriches antibiotic resistance genes and alters the structure of microbial communities

Journal article
Authors Johan Bengtsson-Palme
M. Milakovic
H. Švecová
M. Ganjto
V. Jonsson
R. Grabic
N. Udikovic-Kolic
Published in Water Research
Volume 162
Pages 437-445
ISSN 0043-1354
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Infectious Medicine
Centre for antibiotic resistance research, CARe
Pages 437-445
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2019.06...
https://gup.ub.gu.se/file/207920
Keywords Antibiotic resistance, Community structure, Macrolides, Pharmaceutical production, Wastewater treatment
Subject categories Environmental Sciences

Abstract

Antibiotic resistance is an emerging global health crisis, driven largely by overuse and misuse of antibiotics. However, there are examples in which the production of these antimicrobial agents has polluted the environment with active antibiotic residues, selecting for antibiotic resistant bacteria and the genes they carry. In this work, we have used shotgun metagenomics to investigate the taxonomic structure and resistance gene composition of sludge communities in a treatment plant in Croatia receiving wastewater from production of the macrolide antibiotic azithromycin. We found that the total abundance of antibiotic resistance genes was three times higher in sludge from the treatment plant receiving wastewater from pharmaceutical production than in municipal sludge from a sewage treatment plant in Zagreb. Surprisingly, macrolide resistance genes did not have higher abundances in the industrial sludge, but genes associated with mobile genetic elements such as integrons had. We conclude that at high concentrations of antibiotics, selection may favor taxonomic shifts towards intrinsically resistant species or strains harboring chromosomal resistance mutations rather than acquisition of mobile resistance determinants. Our results underscore the need for regulatory action also within Europe to avoid release of antibiotics into the environment. © 2019 Elsevier Ltd

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Utskriftsdatum: 2019-11-13