Abundances and profiles of antibiotic resistance genes as well as co-occurrences with human bacterial pathogens in ship ballast tank sediments from a shipyard in Jiangsu Province, China

Ship ballasting operations may transfer harmful aquatic organisms across global ocean. This study aims to reveal the occurrences and abundances of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and human bacterial pathogens (HBPs) in ballast tank sediments. Nine samples were collected and respectively analyzed by real-time quantitative PCR and high-throughput sequencing technologies. Ten ARGs (aadAU, blaCTX-M, blaTEM, ermB, mefA, strB, sul1, sul2, tetM, and tetQ) and the Class-I integron gene (intI1) were highly prevalent (105-109 gene copies/g) in ballast tank sediments. The sul1 was the most abundant ARG with the concentration of 108-109 copies/g and intI1 was much more abundant than the ARGs in ballast tank sediments. The strong positive correlations between intI1 and ARGs (blaCTX-M, sul1, sul2 and tetM) indicated the potential spread of ARGs via horizontal gene transfer. In ballast tank sediments, 44 bacterial species were identified as HBPs and accounted for 0.13-21.46% of the total bacterial population although the three indicator pathogenic microbes (Vibrio cholerae, Escherichia coli, and Enterococci) proposed by the International Maritime Organization were not detected. Pseudomonas pseudoalcaligenes, Enterococcus hirae, Shigella sonnei and Bacillus anthracis were the dominant pathogens in ballast tank sediments. Zn and P in sediments had positive effects on the ARGs. Network analysis results indicated that sul1 and sul2 genes existed in several bacterial pathogens. Ballast tank sediments could be regarded as a carrier for the migration of ARGs. It is important to manage ballast tank sediments reasonably in order to prevent the dissemination of ARGs and bacterial pathogens.


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  • Accession Number: 01678675
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 2 2018 4:22PM