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Soil oxytetracycline exposure alters the microbial community and enhances the abundance of antibiotic resistance genes in the gut of Enchytraeus crypticus

Ma, Jun, Zhu, Dong, Sheng, G. Daniel, O'Connor, Patrick, Zhu, Yong-Guan
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.673 pp. 357-366
Enchytraeus, Planctomycetes, Proteobacteria, antibiotic resistance genes, bioaccumulation, digestive system, intestinal microorganisms, microbial communities, models, mortality, oxytetracycline, pollution, reproduction, soil, soil invertebrates, tissues
Gut microbiota make an important contribution to the health of soil invertebrates. Many studies have focused on effects of antibiotics on soil invertebrates. Influence from antibiotics on the gut microbiota of non-target soil fauna is rarely reported and the abundance of antibiotics resistance genes (ARGs) in the gut is poorly understood. Here, 10 μg·g−1 of oxytetracycline (OTC) (environmentally relevant concentration) was added in soil, used Enchytraeus crypticus as soil model worm was tested for the response to oxytetracycline. The results showed that although soil OTC exposure did not cause a change in E. crypticus growth, mortality or reproduction, it did result in bioaccumulation of OTC in E. crypticus body tissues. The OTC treatment induced a shift in the composition and diversity of the gut microbiota of E. crypticus when compared to the control treatment. Specifically, the relative abundance of Proteobacteria declined significantly from 52.2% to 32.4% after OTC exposure (P = 0.028), but the relative abundance of Planctomycetes was significantly elevated from 28.1% to 45.8% (P = 0.002). It is noteworthy that soil OTC exposure significantly enhanced the abundance and number of tetracycline-related ARGs in the E. crypticus gut. These results suggest that change in E. crypticus gut microbiota has potential as an indicator of soil antibiotic pollution, and E. crypticus gut may act as a receiver and mediator of ARGs resulting from soil antibiotic pollution.