Higher spreading risk of antibacterial biocide and heavy metal resistance genes than antibiotic resistance genes in aerobic granular sludge

Metagenomic approach was applied to simultaneously reveal the antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and antibacterial biocide & metal resistance genes (BMRGs), and the corresponding microbial hosts with high mobility during aerobic granular sludge (AGS) formation process. The results showed that the relative abundance of BMRGs was 88–123 times that of ARGs. AGS process was easier to enrich BMRGs, leading to a greater risk of drug resistance caused by BMRGs than that by ARGs. The enrichments of ARGs and BMRGs in AGS were closely related to several enhanced microbial metabolisms (i.e., cell motility, transposase and ATP-binding cassette transporters) and their corresponding regulatory genes. Several enhanced KEGG Orthologs (KO) functions, such as K01995, K01996, K01997 and K02002, might cause a positive impact on the spread of ARGs and BMRGs, and the main contributors were the largely enriched glycogens accumulating organisms. The first dominant ARGs (adeF) was carried by lots of microbial hosts, which might be enriched and propagated mainly through horizontal gene transfer. Candidatus Competibacter denitrificans simultaneously harbored ARG (cmx) and Cu related RGs (corR). Many enriched bacteria contained simultaneously multiple BMRGs (copR and corR) and mobile genetic elements (integrons and plasmids), granting them high mobility capabilities and contributing to the spread of BMRGs. This study might provide deeper understandings of the proliferation and mobility of ARGs and BMRGs, importantly, highlighted the status of BMRGs, which laid the foundation for the controlling widespread of resistance genes in AGS.

» Author: Dingchang Li, Jingfeng Gao, Huihui Dai, Zhiqi Wang, Yifan Zhao, Yingchao Cui

» Publication Date: 01/09/2022

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement Nº 768737


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