Data_Sheet_1_Biosolids as a Source of Antibiotic Resistance Plasmids for Commensal and Pathogenic Bacteria.PDF (729.46 kB)
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Data_Sheet_1_Biosolids as a Source of Antibiotic Resistance Plasmids for Commensal and Pathogenic Bacteria.PDF

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posted on 21.04.2021, 13:11 by Aaron Law, Olubunmi Solano, Celeste J. Brown, Samuel S. Hunter, Matt Fagnan, Eva M. Top, Thibault Stalder

Antibiotic resistance (AR) is a threat to modern medicine, and plasmids are driving the global spread of AR by horizontal gene transfer across microbiomes and environments. Determining the mobile resistome responsible for this spread of AR among environments is essential in our efforts to attenuate the current crisis. Biosolids are a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) byproduct used globally as fertilizer in agriculture. Here, we investigated the mobile resistome of biosolids that are used as fertilizer. This was done by capturing resistance plasmids that can transfer to human pathogens and commensal bacteria. We used a higher-throughput version of the exogenous plasmid isolation approach by mixing several ESKAPE pathogens and a commensal Escherichia coli with biosolids and screening for newly acquired resistance to about 10 antibiotics in these strains. Six unique resistance plasmids transferred to Salmonella typhimurium, Klebsiella aerogenes, and E. coli. All the plasmids were self-transferable and carried 3–6 antibiotic resistance genes (ARG) conferring resistance to 2–4 antibiotic classes. These plasmids-borne resistance genes were further embedded in genetic elements promoting intracellular recombination (i.e., transposons or class 1 integrons). The plasmids belonged to the broad-host-range plasmid (BHR) groups IncP-1 or PromA. Several of them were persistent in their new hosts when grown in the absence of antibiotics, suggesting that the newly acquired drug resistance traits would be sustained over time. This study highlights the role of BHRs in the spread of ARG between environmental bacteria and human pathogens and commensals, where they may persist. The work further emphasizes biosolids as potential vehicles of highly mobile plasmid-borne antibiotic resistance genes.

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