Metagenomic analysis of an urban resistome before and after wastewater treatment

Felipe Lira, Ivone Vaz-Moreira, Javier Tamames, Célia M. Manaia, José Luis Martínez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Determining the effect of wastewater treatment in water resistome is a topic of interest for water quality, mainly under re-use and One-Health perspectives. The resistome, the plasmidome, and the bacterial community composition of samples from influents and treated effluents from a wastewater treatment plant located in Northern Portugal were studied using metagenomic techniques. Wastewater treatment contributed to reduce the abundance of resistance genes and of plasmid replicons, coinciding with a decline in the number of intrinsic resistance genes from Enterobacteriaceae, as well as with a reduction in the relative abundance of Firmicutes and Proteobacteria after treatment. These taxons comprise bacterial pathogens, including those belonging to the ESKAPE group, which encompasses bacteria with the highest risk of acquiring antibiotic resistance, being the most relevant hosts of resistance genes acquired through horizontal gene transfer. Our results support that wastewater treatment efficiently removes the hosts of antibiotic resistance genes and, consequently, the harboured antibiotic resistance genes. Principal component analysis indicates that the resistome and the bacterial composition clustered together in influent samples, while did not cluster in final effluent samples. Our results suggest that wastewater treatment mitigates the environmental dissemination of urban resistome, through the removal of the hosts harbouring mobile resistance genes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8174
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


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