High throughput qPCR unveils shared antibiotic resistance genes in tropical wastewater and river water

Srathongneam, Thitima; Sresung, Montakarn; Paisantham, Phongsawat; Ruksakul, Pacharaporn; Singer, Andrew C. ORCID:; Sukchawalit, Rojana; Satayavivad, Jutamaad; Mongkolsuk, Skorn; Sirikanchana, Kwanrawee. 2024 High throughput qPCR unveils shared antibiotic resistance genes in tropical wastewater and river water. Science of The Total Environment, 908, 167867. 10, pp.

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The global challenge posed by rising antimicrobial resistance, and the adoption of a One Health approach, has led to the prioritisation of surveillance for antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in various environments. Herein lies an information gap, particularly in the context of Thailand, where there is scarce data on ARG prevalence across diverse environmental matrices and throughout different seasons. This study aimed to fill this void, analysing ARG prevalence by high-throuput qPCR in influent (n = 12) and effluent wastewater (n = 12) and river water (n = 12). The study reveals a substantial and largely uniform presence of ARGs across all water sample types (87 % similarity). Intriguingly, no ARGs were exclusive to specific water types, indicating an extensive circulation of resistance determinants across the aquatic environment. The genes intI1, tnpA, and intI3, part of the integrons and mobile genetic elements group, were detected in high relative abundance in both wastewater and river water samples, suggesting widespread pollution of rivers with wastewater. Additional high-prevalence ARGs across all water types included qepA, aadA2, merA, sul1, qacF/H, sul2, aadB, and ereA. More alarmingly, several ARGs (e.g., blaVIM, intI3, mcr-1, mexB, qepA, vanA, and vanB) showed higher relative abundance in effluent and river water than in influents, which suggests malfunctioning or inadequate wastewater treatment works and implicates this as a possible mechanism for environmental contamination. Nine genes (i.e., blaCTX-M, blaVIM, emrD, ermX, intI1, mphA, qepA, vanA, and vanB) were recovered in greater relative abundance during the dry season in river water samples as compared to the wet season, suggesting there are seasonal impacts on the efficacy of wastewater treatment practices and pollution patterns into receiving waters. This study highlights the urgency for more effective measures to reduce antibiotic resistance dissemination in water systems.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pollution (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0048-9697
Additional Keywords: antibiotic resistance, environmental health, freshwater, high-throughput qPCR, wastewater
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 10 Nov 2023 09:51 +0 (UTC)

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