It has been demonstrated that antibiotic resistance could be induced and selected under high antibiotic concentrations in biological wastewater treatment systems. However, little is available regarding the minimum concentrations of antibiotics for selecting antibiotic resistance during wastewater treatment. Herein, the minimum influent concentrations of oxytetracycline, streptomycin, and spiramycin in selecting antibiotic resistance in biofilm type wastewater treatment systems were investigated by spiking respective antibiotic into wastewater with an antibiotic dose increasing from 0 to 0.1, 1, 5, 25, 50 mg/L stepwise over a period of 606 days. Significant increase (p < .01) in the total abundance of antibiotic resistance genes was observed for both streptomycin and oxytetracycline at a dose of 0.1 mg/L according to metagenomic sequencing, while the concentration levels leading to significant increases (p < .05) in resistant bacteria ratio were higher: 5 mg/L for streptomycin and 25 mg/L for oxytetracycline. Although resistome abundance increased with the increase of spiramycin dose, neither the corresponding Macrolide-Lincosamide-Streptogramin (MLS) resistance genes nor the resistant bacteria ratio showed perceptible increase. Partial canonical correspondence analysis showed that both bacterial community shift and mobile genetic elements alteration contributed to the enrichment of resistomes under the presence of streptomycin and oxytetracycline. Regarding spiramycin which is mainly targeting on Gram-positive bacteria, the dominance of the intrinsically resisting Gram-negative bacteria in the biofilm microbiota might be responsible for the vague change of MLS resistant determinants under the spiramycin stress. The results demonstrated that it is possible to prevent the development of antibiotic resistance during wastewater treatment by controlling the influent streptomycin and oxytetracyline concentrations below 0.1 mg/L. This work proposed an actionable approach for the management of antibiotic production wastewater.
- Antibiotic resistance genes
- Minimum influent concentration
- Biological wastewater treatment
- Antibiotic production wastewater