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Mercury/silver resistance genes and their association with antibiotic resistance genes and microbial community in a municipal wastewater treatment plant

Yuan, Li, Li, Zheng-Hao, Zhang, Ming-Qi, Shao, Wei, Fan, Yang-Yang, Sheng, Guo-Ping
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.657 pp. 1014-1022
antibiotic resistance genes, enzymes, heavy metals, hosts, mercury, microbial communities, municipal wastewater, silver, wastewater treatment
Municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are an important reservoir for heavy metal (e.g., Hg and Ag) resistance genes and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). However, current knowledge on Hg/Ag resistance genes and their association with ARGs in WWTPs remains largely unknown. In this study, the fates of five Hg/Ag resistance genes (merB, merD, merR, silE, and silR), five ARGs (sulI, sulII, tetO, tetQ, tetW), and class 1 integrase (intI1) in a WWTP were investigated. Results show that the absolute abundances of all target genes were greatly reduced through the treatment systems. The dynamics of merB, merD and silE were significantly correlated with tetW and sulII. Based on network analysis, Hg/Ag resistance genes might share the same microbial hosts with tetQ and tetW, implying the potential importance of Hg/Ag in ARGs evolution and spread. These findings advanced our understanding of the occurrence of Hg/Ag resistance genes and ARGs in WWTPs.