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Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.    2019, Vol. 13 Issue (3) : 36
Presence, dissemination and removal of antibiotic resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes in urban drinking water system: A review
Qiaowen Tan1,2, Weiying Li1,2(), Junpeng Zhang1,2, Wei Zhou1,2, Jiping Chen1,2, Yue Li1,2, Jie Ma1,2()
1. State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China
2. College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China
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Reviewed the change of ARGs and ARB in full-scale urban drinking water systems.

Conventional processes are more promising than BAC process in ARGs removal.

Mechanisms of ARGs enrichment and spread in BAC filter and DWDSs are discussed.

Raise the need of future research on ARGs and ARB change in building plumbing systems.

Antibiotic resistance in aquatic environment has become an important pollution problem worldwide. In recent years, much attention was paid to antibiotic resistance in urban drinking water systems due to its close relationship with the biosafety of drinking water. This review was focused on the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance, as well as the presence, dissemination and removal of antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB) and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in the urban drinking water system. First, the presence of ARB and ARGs in the drinking water source was discussed. The variation of concentration of ARGs and ARB during coagulation, sedimentation and filtration process were provided subsequently, in which filtration was proved to be a promising technology to remove ARGs. However, biological activated carbon (BAC) process and drinking water distribution systems (DWDSs) could be incubators which promote the antibiotic resistance, due to the enrichment of ARGs and ARB in the biofilms attached to the active carbon and pipe wall. Besides, as for disinfection process, mechanisms of the inactivation of ARB and the promotion of conjugative transfer of ARGs under chlorine, ozone and UV disinfection were described in detail. Here we provide some theoretical support for future researches which aim at antibiotic resistance controlling in drinking water.

Keywords Antibiotic resistant bacteria      Antibiotic resistance genes      Water source      Drinking water treatment plant      Drinking water distribution system      Urban drinking water system     
This article is part of themed collection: Environmental Antibiotics and Antibiotic Resistance (Xin Yu, Hui Li & Virender K. Sharma)
Corresponding Authors: Weiying Li,Jie Ma   
Issue Date: 17 May 2019
 Cite this article:   
Qiaowen Tan,Weiying Li,Junpeng Zhang, et al. Presence, dissemination and removal of antibiotic resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes in urban drinking water system: A review[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2019, 13(3): 36.
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Qiaowen Tan
Weiying Li
Junpeng Zhang
Wei Zhou
Jiping Chen
Yue Li
Jie Ma
Fig.1  (a) Mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in a Gram-negative bacterium (Adapted from Allen et al. (2010) with permission from Springer Nature). (b) Major aspects of horizontal gene transfer by means of conjugation, transduction, and natural transformation (Adapted from Dodd (2012) with permission from The Royal Society of Chemistry).
Fig.2  (a) Antibiotic resistance of various gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria present in a raw source water in south-east Louisiana, USA (Adapted from Bergeron et al. (2015) with permission from Elsevier Inc.). (b) The number of susceptible, intermediate, and totally resistant gram negative bacteria found in a raw source water site of rural communities in the USA (Adapted from Bergeron et al. (2017) with permission from Elsevier Inc.).
Ref. DWTP Type Coagulation Sedimentation Filtration Ozone BAC Chlorine disinfection Total of all processes
Xu et al. (2016) DWTP-1 Aminoglycoside 0.45a 0.06 0.22 0.05 1.13 1.86
β-lactam 0.69a -0.12 0.54 -0.05 0.94 1.88
FCA 1.03a -0.17 0.36 0.38 0.87 2.14
MLSB 0.76a -0.06 0.33 -0.30 1.55 2.07
Other/efflux 0.43a 0.11 -0.12 0.26 1.61 2.29
Sulfonamide 0.85a -0.30 0.26 0.10 1.38 2.04
Tetracycline 0.40a -0.05 0.34 0.07 1.43 2.23
Zheng et al. (2018) Aminoglycoside 0.94b 0.10 0.88 2.36 4.28
β-lactam 1.79b -0.75 0.32 2.14 3.50
FCA 0.68b 0.07 0.56 2.48 3.79
MLSB 1.30b 0.26 0.10 2.27 3.92
Other/efflux 0.81b 0.27 0.74 2.76 4.57
Sulfonamide 0.76b 0.29 0.78 2.51 4.34
Tetracycline 0.67b 0.27 0.45 2.54 3.93
Vancomycin 1.20b -0.74 0.25 1.58 2.29
Guo et al. (2014) SX sulI 0.10a -0.31 1.06 -0.06 1.11 1.80
sulII 0.45a -0.31 0.80 -0.20 0.57 1.25
tetC 2.62a -2.29 -0.10 1.66 1.64 3.30
tetG 0.06a -1.08 2.33 -0.25 1.15 2.44
tetX 0.88a 0.53 0.23 0.63 1.00 1.45
tetA 0.39a 0.08 0.45 -0.10 0.78 1.39
tetB 0.22a -0.06 0.22 -0.23 1.02 1.02
tetO 0.20a -0.25 0.31 0.12 / /
tetM -0.18a -0.04 -0.12 -0.14 0.06 -0.59
tetW -0.27a 0.23 -0.27 -0.08 0.22 -0.55
Su et al. (2018) Plant A sul1 -0.07a 0.45 -0.19c 0d
ermB -0.18a 1.05 -0.27c -0.13d
tetA -0.26a 0.51 -0.15c 0.08d
tetO 0.1a 1.62 -0.27c -0.08d
tetX -0.22a 0.23 -0.34c 0.45d
cfr 0.58a 0.66 -0.24c -0.04d
cmlA -0.2a 0.35 -0.21c -0.09d
fexA -0.07a 0.8 -0.28c -0.13d
floR -0.27a 0.16 -0.06c 0.04d
oqxB -0.28a 0.93 -0.22c -0.16d
qepA 0.4a 3.08 -3.25c -3.43d
qnrA -0.05a 4.08 -3.67c 0d
∑ ARGs -0.14a 0.35 -0.15c 0.01d
Tab.1  Log removal or an increase of the absolute abundance of the ARGs in each process of the DWTP (obtain directly or calculated by the average values in the references, positive values represent removal, negative value represent increase)
Ref. DWTP Type Coagulation Sedimentation Filtration Ozone BAC Chlorine disinfection Total of all processes
Xu et al. (2016) DWTP-1 Aminoglycoside 0.58a -0.11 0.44 -0.34 -0.76 -0.90
β-lactam -0.03a 0.03 0.97 -0.82 -0.23 0.11
FCA 0.16a 0.07 0.20 -1.02 -0.05 -0.61
MLSB 0.03a 0.00 0.20 -0.69 -0.35 -0.71
Other/efflux -0.44a 0.12 -0.12 -0.15 -0.25 -0.49
Sulfonamide -0.01a 0.03 0.01 -0.36 -0.41 -0.65
Tetracycline -0.44a -0.30 0.68 -0.39 -0.43 -0.48
Vancomycin 0.00a 0.49 -0.18 -1.44 -0.40 -1.40
Zheng et al. (2018) ∑ARGs 0.08b -0.07 -0.06 -0.36 -0.40
Guo et al. (2014) SX sulI -0.50a 0.53 0.31 -0.55 -1.32 -1.99
sulII -0.17a 0.53 0.05 -0.67 -1.87 -2.52
tetC 1.97a -1.42 -0.86 1.20 -0.79 -0.48
tetG -0.58a -0.22 1.58 -0.72 -1.30 -1.34
tetX 0.26a 1.37 -0.50 0.14 -1.44 -2.33
tetA -0.24a 0.94 -0.31 -0.55 -1.68 -2.40
tetB -0.41a 0.79 -0.53 -0.72 -1.44 -2.76
tetO -0.43a 0.60 -0.43 -0.36 -1.01 -2.21
tetM -0.82a 0.82 -0.86 -0.60 -2.40 -4.37
tetW -0.89a 1.08 -1.01 -0.55 -2.26 -4.34
Su et al. (2018) Plant A sulI 0.27a 0.00 -0.10c 0.18d
ermB 0.17a 0.58 -0.04c 0.06d
tetA 0.07a 0.06 -0.14c 0.27d
tetO 0.44a 1.16 -0.08c 0.11d
tetX 0.11a -0.23 -0.71c 0.65d
cfr 0.92a 0.20 -0.11c 0.16d
cmlA 0.14a -0.11 -0.03c 0.10d
fexA 0.25a 0.35 -0.06c 0.06d
floR 0.07a -0.31 -0.01c 0.24d
oqxB 0.07a 0.47 0.04c 0.03d
qepA 0.73a 0.25c
qnrA 0.28a
∑ ARGs 0.20a -0.11 -0.08c 0.21d
Tab.2  Log removal or an increase of the relative abundance of the ARGs by each process of the DWTP (obtain directly or calculated by the average values in the references, positive values represent removal, negative values represent increase)
Fig.3  The relative abundance (a) and absolute abundance (b) of the ARGs in raw water, finished water and tap water of a DWTP. RA1 and RA2 refer to the different residential areas. (Adapted from Xu et al. (2016) with permission from Elsevier Inc.).
Fig.4  Overview of (a) a generic vegetative bacterial cell, and (b) variations in concentrations of several hypothetical oxidants with increasing diffusion distance into the cell (where “A” represents an oxidant with high reactivity toward cell envelope constituents, “B” represents an oxidant with moderate reactivity toward cell envelope constituents and DNA, and “C” represents an oxidant with low reactivity toward all cell constituents) (Reproduced from Dodd (2012) with permission from The Royal Society of Chemistry).
Fig.5  The biofilm formation and detachment and the transmission of bacterial antibiotic resistance in drinking water distribution systems. (Reproduced from Zhang et al. (2018a) with permission from Elsevier Inc.).
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