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Science of The Total Environment
Volume 779, 2021, 146329

Assessing the effect of treated erythromycin fermentation residue on antibiotic resistome in soybean planting soil: In situ field study

Xiao Luana,d, Ziming Hana,d, Yunpeng Shenc,d, Yu Zhanga,d

College of Animal Science and Technology, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shaanxi, China.


As a by-product in the pharmaceutical industry, antibiotic fermentation residue is expected to be able to be utilized after effectively removing the antibiotics. However, evaluation of the effect of fermentation residue application on soil, especially the in situ environmental consequences considering not only the antibiotic resistance gene (ARG) abundance but also the resistome risk, has still not been sufficiently evaluated. Herein, the impact of treated erythromycin fermentation residue (EFR) on the resistome and risk score in soybean planting soil was investigated. Treated EFR application with dosages of 3750 kg (EFR250) and 7500 kg (EFR500) per hm2 soil did not increase the diversity (Shannon index, 2.84–3.38) or relative abundance (0.086–0.142 copies/16S rRNA gene) of the soil resistome compared with the Control (CK: 2.92–3.2, 0.088–0.096 copies/16S rRNA gene). Soil resistome risk scores calculated by metagenomic assembly, showing the dissemination potential of ARGs, ranged from 22.9 to 25.0, and were also not significantly different between treated EFR amended soil and the Control. Notably, the diversity of the resistome increased at the sprout stage (Mann-Whitney U test, P < 0.05) and the abundance of some ARG types (macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin, aminoglycoside and tetracycline, etc.) shifted along the course of soybean growth (Kruskal-Wallis test, P < 0.05). Structural equation model analysis showed that the soybean growth period affected the composition of ARGs by affecting the microbial community, which was further supported by Procrustes analysis (P < 0.05) and metagenomic binning. Our findings emphasized that soil ARG abundance and resistome risk did not increase during one-time field application of treated EFR at the studied dosage. Comprehensive consideration including resistome risk and multiple influencing factors also should be given for further assessment of fermentation residue application.

Keywords: Antibiotic resistance genes, Resource utilization, Pharmaceutical industry, Soil amendment, Resistome risk score.

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