Spatial ecology of a wastewater network defines the antibiotic resistance genes in downstream receiving waters.
ABSTRACT: Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are an effective barrier in the protection of human and environment health around the world, although WWTPs also are suggested to be selectors and-or reservoirs of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) before entering the environment. The dogma about WWTPs as "ARG selectors" presumes that biotreatment compartments (e.g., activated sludge; AS) are single densely populated ecosystems with elevated horizontal gene transfer. However, recent work has suggested WWTP biotreatment compartments may be different than previously believed relative to antibiotic resistance (AR) fate, and other process factors, such as bacterial separation and specific waste sources, may be key to ARGs released to the environment. Here we combined 16S rRNA metagenomic sequencing and high-throughput qPCR to characterise microbial communities and ARGs across a wastewater network in Spain that includes both community (i.e., non-clinical urban) and hospital sources. Contrary to expectations, ARGs found in downstream receiving waters were not dominated by AS biosolids (RAS), but more resembled raw wastewater sources. In fact, ARGs and microbial communities in liquid-phase WWTP effluents and RAS were significantly different (Bray-Curtis dissimilarity index?=?0.66?±?0.11), with a consequential fraction of influent ARGs and organisms passing directly through the WWTP with limited association with RAS. Instead, ARGs and organisms in the RAS may be more defined by biosolids separation and biophysical traits, such as flocculation, rather than ARG carriage. This explains why RAS has significantly lower ARG richness (47?±?4 ARGs) than liquid-phase effluents (104?±?5 ARGs), and downstream water column (135?±?4 ARGs) and river sediments (120?±?5 ARGs) (Tukey's test, p?
Project description:The study quantified the abundances of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and facultative pathogenic bacteria (FPB) as well as one mobile genetic element in genomic DNA via qPCR from 23 different wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents in Germany. 12 clinically relevant ARGs were categorized into frequently, intermediately, and rarely occurring genetic parameters of communal wastewaters. Taxonomic PCR quantifications of five FPB targeting Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, and enterococci were performed. The WWTPs differed in their catchment areas being impacted by hospitals, food processing companies, or housing areas only. The total discharges of the analyzed ARGs and FPB were found to cluster independently of the sizes of the WWTPs with a maximum difference of two log units within one cluster. Initially, quantitative data evaluations revealed no significant difference between ARG categories and WWTP catchment areas. More distinct correlations became obvious with a Pearson correlation approach, where each single taxonomic marker is compared to each ARG target. Here, increased correlation of FPB (i.e. E. coli, K. pneumoniae, P. aeruginosa, and enterococci) with clinically relevant ARGs of the category of rarely occurring resistance genes (bla<sub>NDM-1</sub>, vanA) was found in WWTP effluents being influenced by hospital wastewaters.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are microbial factories aimed to reduce the amount of nutrients and pathogenic microorganisms in the treated wastewater before its discharge into the environment. We studied the impact of urban WWTP effluents on the abundance of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and antibiotic-resistant Escherichia coli (AR-E. coli) in the last stretch of two rivers (Arrone and Tiber) in Central Italy that differ in size and flow volume. METHODS:Water samples were collected in three seasons upstream and downstream of the WWTP, at the WWTP outlet, and at sea sites near the river mouth, and analyzed for the abundance of ARGs by qPCR and AR-E. coli using cultivation followed by disk diffusion assays. RESULTS:For all studied genes (16S rRNA, intI1, sul1, ermB, blaTEM, tetW and qnrS), absolute concentrations were significantly higher in the Tiber than in the Arrone at all sampling sites, despite their collection date, but the prevalence of target ARGs within bacterial communities in both rivers was similar. The absolute concentrations of most ARGs were also generally higher in the WWTP effluent with median levels between log 4 and log 6 copies per ml but did not show differences along the studied stretches of rivers. Statistically significant site effect was found for E. coli phenotypic resistance to tetracycline and ciprofloxacin in the Arrone but not in the Tiber. CONCLUSIONS:In both rivers, diffuse or point pollution sources other than the studied WWTP effluents may account for the observed resistance pattern, although the Arrone appears as more sensitive to the wastewater impact considering its lower flow volume.
Project description:Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) receive a confluence of sewage containing antimicrobials, antibiotic resistant bacteria, antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs), and pathogens and thus are a key point of interest for antibiotic resistance surveillance. WWTP monitoring has the potential to inform with respect to the antibiotic resistance status of the community served as well as the potential for ARGs to escape treatment. However, there is lack of agreement regarding suitable sampling frequencies and monitoring targets to facilitate comparison within and among individual WWTPs. The objective of this study was to comprehensively evaluate patterns in metagenomic-derived indicators of antibiotic resistance through various stages of treatment at a conventional WWTP for the purpose of informing local monitoring approaches that are also informative for global comparison. Relative abundance of total ARGs decreased by ∼50% from the influent to the effluent, with each sampling location defined by a unique resistome (i.e., total ARG) composition. However, 90% of the ARGs found in the effluent were also detected in the influent, while the effluent ARG-pathogen taxonomic linkage patterns identified in assembled metagenomes were more similar to patterns in regional clinical surveillance data than the patterns identified in the influent. Analysis of core and discriminatory resistomes and general ARG trends across the eight sampling events (i.e., tendency to be removed, increase, decrease, or be found in the effluent only), along with quantification of ARGs of clinical concern, aided in identifying candidate ARGs for surveillance. Relative resistome risk characterization further provided a comprehensive metric for predicting the relative mobility of ARGs and likelihood of being carried in pathogens and can help to prioritize where to focus future monitoring and mitigation. Most antibiotics that were subject to regional resistance testing were also found in the WWTP, with the total antibiotic load decreasing by ∼40-50%, but no strong correlations were found between antibiotics and corresponding ARGs. Overall, this study provides insight into how metagenomic data can be collected and analyzed for surveillance of antibiotic resistance at WWTPs, suggesting that effluent is a beneficial monitoring point with relevance both to the local clinical condition and for assessing efficacy of wastewater treatment in reducing risk of disseminating antibiotic resistance.
Project description:The entry of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) into aquatic systems has been documented for large municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), but there is less study of the impact of smaller plants that are situated on small rural rivers. We sampled water metagenomes for ARGs and taxa composition from the Kokosing River, a small rural river in Knox County, Ohio, which has been designated an Ohio State Scenic River for retention of natural character. Samples were obtained 1.0 km upstream, 120 m downstream, and 6.4 km downstream from the effluent release of the Mount Vernon WWTP. ARGs were identified in metagenomes using ShortBRED markers from the comprehensive antibiotic resistance database (CARD) screened against UniPROT. Through all seasons, the metagenome just downstream of the WWTP effluent showed a substantial elevation of at least 15 different ARGs, including 6 ARGs commonly associated with Acinetobacter baumannii, such as <i>msrE</i>, <i>mphE</i> (macrolide resistance), and <i>tet</i>(39) (tetracycline resistance). The ARGs most prevalent near the effluent pipe persisted 6.4 km downriver. Using metagenomic phylogenetic analysis (MetaPhlAn2) clade-specific marker genes, the taxa distribution near the effluent showed elevation of reads annotated as Acinetobacter species as well as gut-associated taxa, <i>Bacteroides</i> and <i>Firmicutes</i>. The ARG levels and taxa prevalence showed little dependence on seasonal chlorination of the effluent. Nitrogen and phosphorus were elevated near the effluent pipe but had no consistent correlation with ARG levels. We show that in a rural river microbiome, year-round wastewater effluent substantially elevates ARGs, including those associated with multidrug-resistant A. baumannii. <b>IMPORTANCE</b> Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem worldwide, with frequent transmission between pathogens and environmental organisms. Rural rivers can support high levels of recreational use by people unaware of inputs from treated wastewater, while wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) can generate a small but significant portion of flow volume into a river surrounded by forest and agriculture. There is little information on the rural impacts of WWTP effluent on the delivery and transport of antibiotic resistance genes. In our study, the river water proximal to wastewater effluent shows evidence for the influx of multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, an opportunistic pathogen of concern for hospitals but also widespread in natural environments. Our work highlights the importance of wastewater effluent in management of environmental antibiotic resistance, even in high quality, rural river systems.
Project description:Surface water quality strongly depends on anthropogenic activity. Among the main anthropogenic sources of this activity are the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents. The discharged loads of nutrients and suspended solids could provoke serious problems for receiving water bodies and significantly alter the surface water quality. This study presents inventory analysis and chemometric assessment of WWTP effluents based on the mandatory monitoring data. The comparison between the Bulgarian WWTPs and previously reported data from other countries reveals that discharged loads from investigated WWTPs are lower. This is particularly valid for total suspended solids (TSS). The low TSS loads are the reason for the deviations of the typical calculated WWTP effluent ratios of Bulgarian WWTPs compared to the WWTPs worldwide. The performed multivariate analysis reveals the hidden factors that determine the content of WWTP effluents. The source apportioning based on multivariate curve resolution analysis provides detailed information for source contribution profiles of the investigated WWTP effluent loads and elucidate the difference between WWTPs included in this study.
Project description:Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) release treated effluent containing mobile genetic elements (MGEs), antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs), and microorganisms into the environment, yet little is known about their influence on nearby microbial communities and the retention of these factors in receiving water bodies. Our research aimed to characterize the genes and organisms from two different WWTPs that discharge into Lake Michigan, as well as from surrounding lake sediments to determine the dispersal and fate of these factors with respect to distance from the effluent outfall. Shotgun metagenomics coupled to distance-decay analyses showed a higher abundance of genes identical to those in WWTP effluent genes in sediments closer to outfall sites than in sediments farther away, indicating their possible WWTP origin. We also found genes attributed to organisms, such as those belonging to Helicobacteraceae, Legionellaceae, Moraxellaceae, and Neisseriaceae, in effluent from both WWTPs and decreasing in abundance in lake sediments with increased distance from WWTPs. Moreover, our results showed that the WWTPs likely influence the ARG composition in lake sediments close to the effluent discharge. Many of these ARGs were located on MGEs in both the effluent and sediment samples, indicating a relatively broad propensity for horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Our approach allowed us to specifically link genes to organisms and their genetic context, providing insight into WWTP impacts on natural microbial communities. Overall, our results suggest a substantial influence of wastewater effluent on gene content and microbial community structure in the sediments of receiving water bodies.IMPORTANCE Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) release their effluent into aquatic environments. Although treated, effluent retains many genes and microorganisms that have the potential to influence the receiving water in ways that are poorly understood. Here, we tracked the genetic footprint, including genes specific to antibiotic resistance and mobile genetic elements and their associated organisms, from WWTPs to lake sediments. Our work is novel in that we used metagenomic data sets to comprehensively evaluate total gene content and the genetic and taxonomic context of specific genes in environmental samples putatively impacted by WWTP inputs. Based on two different WWTPs with different treatment processes, our findings point to an influence of WWTPs on the presence, abundance, and composition of these factors in the environment.
Project description:Background and Objectives:Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are one of the major reservoirs for antimicrobial resistant bacteria (ARB) and antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) in the environment. Thus, the investigation on ARB and ARGs from WWTPs has attracted increasing attention in recent years. In order to uncover the resistome in a WWTP treating effluents from a pharmaceutical industry in China, the extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli strains were isolated and their whole genome sequences were obtained and analyzed. Moreover, metagenomic sequencing was applied to give a comprehensive view of antibiotic resistance in this WWTP. Methods:18 ESBL-producing E. coli strains were isolated from a WWTP located in Taizhou, China on April, 2017. All strains were sequenced using Illumina HiSeq 2000 sequencer. The whole genome sequences were assembled using SPAdes software and annotated with RAST server. Sequence types (STs), plasmids, ARGs and virulence genes were predicted from the genomes using MLST, Plasmid Finder, ResFinder and Virulence Finder, respectively. Metagenomic DNA of the same sample was extracted and sequenced using Illumina Hiseq X Ten platform. Metagenomic sequences were assembled using SOAPdenovo software. Results:All 18 ESBL-producing E. coli strains were resistant to ampicillin, cefazolin, and ceftriaxone. Analysis of their genomes revealed that all strains carried beta-lactamase encoding genes and the most prevalent type was bla CTX-M . Various virulence genes and ARGs confronting resistance to other types of antimicrobial agents were also predicted. Further investigation on the metagenomics data indicated 11 ARGs with high amino acid identities to the known ARGs. Five of these ARGs, aadA1, aac(6')-lb-cr, flo(R), sul2 and sul1, were also present in the genomes of the ESBL-producing E. coli isolated from the same sample. Conclusion:Our study revealed the resistome of a pharmaceutical WWTP by both culture-dependent and metegenomic methods. The existence of ESBL-producing E. coli strains, indicating that pharmaceutical WWTP can play a significant role in the emergence of ARB. The occurrence of ARGs annotated from the metagenomic data suggests that pharmaceutical WWTP can play a significant role in the emergence of ARGs. Our findings highlight the need for strengthening the active surveillance of ARB and ARGs from pharmaceutical industry.
Project description:Oxidation ditches (ODs) and membrane bioreactors (MBRs) are widely used in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) with bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) running through the whole system. In this study, metagenomic sequencing was used to compare the bacterial communities and ARGs in the OD and MBR systems, which received the same influent in a WWTP located in Xinjiang, China. The results showed that the removal efficiency of pollutants by the MBR process was better than that by the OD process. The composition and the relative abundance of bacteria in activated sludge were similar at the phylum and genus levels and were not affected by process type. Multidrug, fluoroquinolones and peptides were the main ARG types for the two processes, with macB being the main ARG subtype, and the relative abundance of ARG subtypes in MBR effluent was much higher than that in the OD effluent. The mobile genetic elements (MGEs) in the activated sludge were mainly transposons (tnpA) and insertion sequences (ISs; IS91). These results provide a theoretical basis for process selection and controlling the spread of ARGs.
Project description:Reclaimed water provides a water supply alternative to address problems of scarcity in urbanized cities with high living densities and limited natural water resources. In this study, wastewater metagenomes from 6 stages of a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) integrating conventional and membrane bioreactor (MBR) treatment were evaluated for diversity of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and bacteria, and relative abundance of class 1 integron integrases (intl1). ARGs confering resistance to 12 classes of antibiotics (ARG types) persisted through the treatment stages, which included genes that confer resistance to aminoglycoside [aadA, aph(6)-I, aph(3')-I, aac(6')-I, aac(6')-II, ant(2?)-I], beta-lactams [class A, class C, class D beta-lactamases (bla OXA)], chloramphenicol (acetyltransferase, exporters, floR, cmIA), fosmidomycin (rosAB), macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin (macAB, ereA, ermFB), multidrug resistance (subunits of transporters), polymyxin (arnA), quinolone (qnrS), rifamycin (arr), sulfonamide (sul1, sul2), and tetracycline (tetM, tetG, tetE, tet36, tet39, tetR, tet43, tetQ, tetX). Although the ARG subtypes in sludge and MBR effluents reduced in diversity relative to the influent, clinically relevant beta lactamases (i.e., bla KPC, bla OXA) were detected, casting light on other potential point sources of ARG dissemination within the wastewater treatment process. To gain a deeper insight into the types of bacteria that may survive the MBR removal process, genome bins were recovered from metagenomic data of MBR effluents. A total of 101 close to complete draft genomes were assembled and annotated to reveal a variety of bacteria bearing metal resistance genes and ARGs in the MBR effluent. Three bins in particular were affiliated to Mycobacterium smegmatis, Acinetobacter Iwoffii, and Flavobacterium psychrophila, and carried aquired ARGs aac(2')-Ib, bla OXA-278, and tet36 respectively. In terms of indicator organisms, cumulative log removal values (LRV) of Escherichia coli, Enterococci, and P. aeruginosa from influent to conventional treated effluent was lower (0-2.4), compared to MBR effluent (5.3-7.4). We conclude that MBR is an effective treatment method for reducing fecal indicators and ARGs; however, incomplete removal of P. aeruginosa in MBR treated effluents (<8 MPN/100 mL) and the presence of ARGs and intl1 underscores the need to establish if further treatment should be applied prior to reuse.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Our interconnected world and the ability of bacteria to quickly swap antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) make it particularly important to establish the epidemiological links of multidrug resistance (MDR) transfer between wastewater treatment plant (WWTP)- and human/animal-associated bacteria, under the One Health framework. However, evidence of ARGs exchange and potential factors that contribute to this transfer remain limited.<h4>Results</h4>Here, by combining culture-based population genomics and genetic comparisons with publicly available datasets, we reconstructed the complete genomes of 82 multidrug-resistant isolates from WWTPs and found that most WWTP-associated isolates were genetically distinct from their closest human/animal-associated relatives currently available in the public database. Even in the minority of lineages that were closely related, WWTP-associated isolates were characterized by quite different plasmid compositions. We identified a high diversity of circular plasmids (264 in total, of which 141 were potentially novel), which served as the main source of resistance, and showed potential horizontal transfer of ARG-bearing plasmids between WWTP- and humans/animal-associated bacteria. Notably, the potentially transferred ARGs and virulence factors (VFs) with different genetic backgrounds were closely associated with flanking insertion sequences (ISs), suggesting the importance of synergy between plasmids and ISs in mediating a multilayered hierarchical transfer of MDR and potentiating the emergence of MDR-hypervirulent clones.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Our findings advance the current efforts to establish potential epidemiological links of MDR transmission between WWTP- and human/animal-associated bacteria. Plasmids play an important role in mediating the transfer of ARGs and the IS-associated ARGs that are carried by conjugative plasmids should be prioritized to tackle the spread of resistance. Video Abstract.