Infections with antibiotic resistant bacteria are among the major threats for human health. Studies elucidating the role of the environment in their spread are still in their infancy, it, however, seems that different environments might function as a long-term reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) that reside within their microbial communities. An increasing number of studies target the presence and the persistence of ARGs in waters and soils that are exposed to human activities; they, however, rarely consider the spatial/temporal variability that predominate in these environments. Here we evaluated the effect of a moderate rain event (4 mm rain h−1) on the abundance and distribution of ARGs (tetA, ermB, blaCTXM, sulII, and qnrS), by comparing measurements of gene abundances during the rainfall to the yearly average, in the waters of a large subalpine river. ARG abundances, which all increased during the rain event, were then correlated to several microbiological, physical and chemical variables, in order to establish their potential origin. Increments in ARG abundances during rainfall (total ARGs: 24 fold) was concomitant to an increase in total phosphorous, N-NH4, and microbial aggregates. Our results show a strong influence of a moderate rainfall on the abundances of ARGs, and suggest the catchment as their source. The impact of moderate rainfalls in areas exposed to anthropic activities should then be considered in modelling and management of ARG dynamics.

Rainfall increases the abundance of antibiotic resistance genes within a riverine microbial community

DI CESARE, ANDREA;
2017-01-01

Abstract

Infections with antibiotic resistant bacteria are among the major threats for human health. Studies elucidating the role of the environment in their spread are still in their infancy, it, however, seems that different environments might function as a long-term reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) that reside within their microbial communities. An increasing number of studies target the presence and the persistence of ARGs in waters and soils that are exposed to human activities; they, however, rarely consider the spatial/temporal variability that predominate in these environments. Here we evaluated the effect of a moderate rain event (4 mm rain h−1) on the abundance and distribution of ARGs (tetA, ermB, blaCTXM, sulII, and qnrS), by comparing measurements of gene abundances during the rainfall to the yearly average, in the waters of a large subalpine river. ARG abundances, which all increased during the rain event, were then correlated to several microbiological, physical and chemical variables, in order to establish their potential origin. Increments in ARG abundances during rainfall (total ARGs: 24 fold) was concomitant to an increase in total phosphorous, N-NH4, and microbial aggregates. Our results show a strong influence of a moderate rainfall on the abundances of ARGs, and suggest the catchment as their source. The impact of moderate rainfalls in areas exposed to anthropic activities should then be considered in modelling and management of ARG dynamics.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/875883
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