Tracking antibiotic resistome during wastewater treatment using high throughput quantitative PCR

Xin Li An, Jian Qiang Su, Bing Li, Wei Ying Ouyang, Yi Zhao, Qing-Lin Chen, Li Cui, Hong Chen, Michael R. Gillings, Tong Zhang*, Yong Guan Zhu

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    104 Citations (Scopus)


    Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) contain diverse antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs), and thus are considered as a major pathway for the dissemination of these genes into the environments. However, comprehensive evaluations of ARGs dynamic during wastewater treatment process lack extensive investigations on a broad spectrum of ARGs. Here, we investigated the dynamics of ARGs and bacterial community structures in 114 samples from eleven Chinese WWTPs using high-throughput quantitative PCR and 16S rRNA-based Illumina sequencing analysis. Significant shift of ARGs profiles was observed and wastewater treatment process could significantly reduce the abundance and diversity of ARGs, with the removal of ARGs concentration by 1–2 orders of magnitude. Whereas, a considerable number of ARGs were detected and enriched in effluents compared with influents. In particular, seven ARGs mainly conferring resistance to beta-lactams and aminoglycosides and three mobile genetic elements persisted in all WWTPs samples after wastewater treatment. ARGs profiles varied with wastewater treatment processes, seasons and regions. This study tracked the footprint of ARGs during wastewater treatment process, which would support the assessment on the spread of ARGs from WWTPs and provide data for identifying management options to improve ARG mitigation in WWTPs.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)146-153
    Number of pages8
    JournalEnvironment International
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


    • antibiotic resistance genes
    • human pathogens
    • horizontal gene transfer
    • human health
    • urban environment


    Dive into the research topics of 'Tracking antibiotic resistome during wastewater treatment using high throughput quantitative PCR'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this