Occurrence and distribution of antibiotics and corresponding antibiotic resistance genes in different soil types irrigated with treated wastewater

Mitiku Mihiret Seyoum, Olabiyi Obayomi, Nirit Bernstein, Clinton F. Williams, Osnat Gillor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Diminishing freshwater (FW) supplies necessitate the reuse of treated wastewater (TWW) for various purposes, like irrigation of agricultural lands. However, there is a growing concern that irrigation with TWW may transfer antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) to the soil and crops. We hypothesized that TWW irrigation would increase the prevalence of antibiotic residues together with the corresponding ARGs in the irrigated soil. We further predicted that soil texture, especially pH, clay content, and organic matter variabilities, would change the antibiotic residues concentrations and thus ARGs dissemination. To test our predictions, three soils types (loamy-sand, loam, and clay) were irrigated with two water types (FW and TWW), over two consecutive seasons. We monitored physico-chemical parameters, the abundance of seven antibiotic residues, and their corresponding ARGs together with class 1 integron (intI1) in 54 water and soil samples collected at the end of the field experiments. The results revealed increase in antibiotics concentrations and ARGs relative abundance in TWW than FW. Yet, in the soil ARGs relative abundances were independent of the irrigation water quality, but dependent on the soil type, especially the clay content. Further, there were no clear associations between the targeted antibiotics or the presence of heavy metals and ARGs' relative abundance in the water or soil samples. Therefore, our results question the link between the discharge of antibiotics and heavy metals, and the dissemination of ARGs in soil environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number146835
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume782
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Antibiotics
  • Bacteria
  • Effluent
  • Secondary treated wastewater
  • Spread
  • qPCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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