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Occurrence and spatial distribution of antibiotic resistance genes in the Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea areas, China

Lu, Jian, Zhang, Yuxuan, Wu, Jun, Wang, Jianhua, Zhang, Cui, Lin, Yichen
Environmental pollution 2019 v.252 pp. 450-460
ammonium, antibiotic resistance genes, bacteria, cities, coastal water, coasts, marine environment, nitrates, pollution, principal component analysis, quinolones, river water, rivers, sediments, tetracycline, China, Yangtze River, Yellow Sea
Rapid development of Bohai and Yellow Sea Economic Rim has led to the concern of emerging contamination of marine environments. This study investigated the spatial distribution of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in Bohai and Yellow Sea areas. A large scale sampling from Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea and the major cities along the coastline from the mouth of Yalu River to the Yangtze River was performed. The spatial distribution of target ARGs based on the absolute abundances was in the trend of river water ≈ coastal water > the Bohai Sea > the Yellow Sea, inshore > offshore and inner bay > bay mouth. The total absolute abundances of selected ARGs in the coastal waters (1.23 × 104–3.94 × 105 copies/mL) were about 1–4 orders of magnitude higher than those in the sea (21.1–8.00 × 103 copies/mL). The abundances of ARGs fluctuated greatly in the Yellow Sea and the coastal areas. Sulfonamide resistance genes hold the highest abundances in the Bohai and Yellow Sea (up to 2.13 × 103 copies/mL of sul1 and 6.23 × 103 copies/mL of sul2), followed by tetracycline and quinolone resistance genes, while qnrA hold the highest abundances in coastal areas (up to 3.66 × 105 copies/mL). The distribution coefficients of target genes between sediments and corresponding water samples were more than 1.0 in the majority of different aquatic systems. According to the principle component analysis and redundancy analysis, water samples collected from the sea clustered together while those from the coastal zone and rivers were separated. Ammonium and nitrate played important roles in the distribution and variation of ARGs. Co-occurrence network analysis revealed that the potential multi-antibiotics resistant bacteria were detected with higher abundances in the Yellow Sea than in the Bohai Sea. These observations provided a comprehensive new insight into the pollution status of ARGs in the Bohai and Yellow Sea areas.