Mitigation of antimicrobial resistance genes in greywater treated at household level

Weitao Shuai, Daniella Itzhari, Zeev Ronen, Erica M. Hartmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Greywater often contains microorganisms carrying antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs). Reuse of greywater thus potentially facilitates the enrichment and spread of multidrug resistance, posing a possible hazard for communities that use it. As water reuse becomes increasingly necessary, it is imperative to determine how greywater treatment impacts ARGs. In this study, we characterize ARG patterns in greywater microbial communities before and after treatment by a recirculating vertical flow constructed wetland (RVFCW). This greywater recycling method has been adopted by some small communities and households for greywater treatment; however, its ability to remove ARGs is unknown. We examined the taxonomic and ARG compositions of microbial communities in raw and treated greywater from five households using shotgun metagenomic sequencing. Total ARGs decreased in abundance and diversity in greywater treated by the RVFCW. In parallel, the microbial communities decreased in similarity in treated greywater. Potentially pathogenic bacteria associated with antimicrobial resistance and mobile genetic elements were detected in both raw and treated water, with a decreasing trend after treatment. This study indicates that RVFCW systems have the potential to mitigate antimicrobial resistance-related hazards when reusing treated greywater, but further measures need to be taken regarding persistent mobile ARGs and potential pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Article number164136
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - 10 Sep 2023


  • Antimicrobial resistance genes
  • Greywater treatment
  • Mobile genetic elements
  • Recirculating vertical flow constructed wetland
  • Shotgun metagenomic sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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