Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Science of The Total Environment
The intensification of the poultry industry may lead to the increased spread of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in the environment. However, the impacts of wastewater discharge from poultry processing plants on the sediment resistome are relatively unexplored. Furthermore, its relationships with important biogeochemical pathways, such as the N cycle, are virtually unknown. The overall objective of this study was to examine the abundance and diversity of antibiotic resistance and N cycling genes in sediment microbial communities impacted by poultry industry wastewater. We performed a metagenomic investigation of sediments in an impacted and a reference tidal creek. We also quantified the abundance of the clinical class 1 integron-integrase gene (intI1) through qPCR as a secondary marker of anthropogenic contamination. Abundance and diversity of ARGs were substantially higher in the impacted tidal creek, especially near the wastewater discharge. Abundances of ARGs conferring resistance to macrolides, tetracyclines, and streptogramins were also higher in the impacted creek than the reference creek. From the N cycling genes detected in the metagenomes, nrfA, the genetic marker for dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonia (DNRA), had the strongest positive relationship with the total abundance of ARGs, which may indicate an increased potential of eutrophication in ARG-impacted ecosystems due to nitrogen retention. This study demonstrates that wastewater discharge from a poultry processing plant can increase the spread of ARGs, which may result in negative impacts on ecosystem health.
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Semedo, Miguel and Song, Bongkeun, Sediment metagenomics reveals the impacts of poultry industry wastewater on antibiotic resistance and nitrogen cycling genes in tidal creek ecosystems (2023). Science of The Total Environment, 857(Part 2), 159496.