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Fate of sulfonamide resistance genes during sludge anaerobic fermentation: Roles of sludge components and fermentation pHs

Chen, Yinguang, Huang, Haining, Zheng, Xiong
Bioresource technology 2019 v.289 pp. 121636
bacteria, carbohydrates, fermentation, horizontal gene transfer, humic acids, pH, plasmids, resistance genes, sludge
This study assessed potential effects of two neglected factors (sludge components and pH values) on the fate of sulfonamide (sul) resistance genes during sludge anaerobic fermentation. It was found that sludge with different contents of protein, carbohydrate and humic acid caused no significant changes in the abundances of sul genes. Nevertheless, sul genes were sensitive to pHs (4–10), and the maximum attenuations (0.8–1.1 log unit) were obtained at pH 10. Mechanism exploration indicated that pHs drove the community evolution of sulfonamide resistant bacteria (SRB), most of which were affiliated to the pH-enriched phyla but not the pH-enriched dominant genera. In addition, the relative abundances of SRB were decreased under both acidic and alkaline conditions. Furthermore, the abundances of intI 1 as well as the sul-carrying abilities of plasmid and extracellular DNA were all reduced at test pHs, indicating that the potential of horizontal gene transfer among bacteria was restricted.