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Bacterial Community Shift Drives Antibiotic Resistance Promotion during Drinking Water Chlorination

Jia, Shuyu, Shi, Peng, Hu, Qing, Li, Bing, Zhang, Tong, Zhang, Xu-Xiang
Environmental science 2015 v.49 no.20 pp. 12271-12279
Acidovorax, Limnobacter, Methylophilus, Polynucleobacter, Pseudomonas, Sphingomonas, antibiotic resistance, bacitracin, bacteria, bacterial communities, chlorination, chlorine, disinfection, drinking water, genes, high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, metagenomics, multiple drug resistance, transportation, water treatment
For comprehensive insights into the effects of chlorination, a widely used disinfection technology, on bacterial community and antibiotic resistome in drinking water, this study applied high-throughput sequencing and metagenomic approaches to investigate the changing patterns of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and bacterial community in a drinking water treatment and distribution system. At genus level, chlorination could effectively remove Methylophilus, Methylotenera, Limnobacter, and Polynucleobacter, while increase the relative abundance of Pseudomonas, Acidovorax, Sphingomonas, Pleomonas, and Undibacterium in the drinking water. A total of 151 ARGs within 15 types were detectable in the drinking water, and chlorination evidently increased their total relative abundance while reduced their diversity in the opportunistic bacteria (p < 0.05). Residual chlorine was identified as the key contributing factor driving the bacterial community shift and resistome alteration. As the dominant persistent ARGs in the treatment and distribution system, multidrug resistance genes (mainly encoding resistance-nodulation-cell division transportation system) and bacitracin resistance gene bacA were mainly carried by chlorine-resistant bacteria Pseudomonas and Acidovorax, which mainly contributed to the ARGs abundance increase. The strong correlation between bacterial community shift and antibiotic resistome alteration observed in this study may shed new light on the mechanism behind the chlorination effects on antibiotic resistance.