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Spatiotemporal profile of tetracycline and sulfonamide and their resistance on a catchment scale

Xu, Yan, Guo, Changsheng, Lv, Jiapei, Hou, Song, Luo, Yi, Zhang, Yuan, Xu, Jian
Environmental pollution 2018 v.241 pp. 1098-1105
antibiotic residues, antibiotic resistance, bacteria, principal component analysis, public health, resistance genes, ribosomal RNA, risk, rivers, sediments, sulfonamides, tetracycline, watersheds, China
Tetracyclines and sulfonamides are the two classes of antibiotics commonly used in the medical, industrial and agricultural activities. Their extensive usage has caused the proliferation and propagation of resistant bacteria (ARB) and resistance genes (ARGs) in the environment. In this study, the occurrence and distribution of tetracyclines (TC, OTC and CTC) and sulfonamides (SMX, SCX and TMP), their associated ARB and ARGs were quantified in water and sediments collected from the mainstream of Liaohe River, northeast China. The average concentration of tetracyclines was higher in May, while the concentration of sulfonamides was slightly higher in October. The highest concentrations of the total tetracyclines and sulfonamides in sediments were 2.7×103 ng/g and 2.1×102 ng/g respectively detected in May. All detected ARGs were found generally with high abundance. The tetA, tetB and tetE genes were dominant (4.4×10−2 to 9.8×10−1 copies of tet genes/copies of 16S rRNA genes) in total communities, and the average abundance of sul genes was expressed above 10−1 in the water samples in May and October. Redundance analysis (RDA) and principle component analysis (PCA) indicated that the antibiotic residue was the most important contributor to the level of tetracycline and sulfonamide resistance genes, and some hydrogeological conditions (e.g. flow rate, intersection settlement) influenced the distribution of resistance genes. Results from this study could help understand the proliferation and propagation of antibiotic resistance on a river catchment scale and mitigate the potential risks to public health.