Variations in Bacterial Communities and Antibiotic Resistance Genes Across Diverse Recycled and Surface Water Irrigation Sources in the Mid-Atlantic and Southwest United States: A CONSERVE Two-Year Field Study

Leena Malayil, Padmini Ramachandran, Suhana Chattopadhyay, Sarah M. Allard, Anthony Bui, Jicell Butron, Mary Theresa Callahan, Hillary A. Craddock, Rianna Murray, Cheryl East, Manan Sharma, Kalmia Kniel, Shirley Micallef, Fawzy Hashem, Charles P. Gerba, Sadhana Ravishankar, Salina Parveen, Eric May, Eric Handy, Prachi KulkarniBrienna Anderson-Coughlin, Shani Craighead, Samantha Gartley, Adam Vanore, Rico Duncan, Derek Foust, Joseph Haymaker, Walter Betancourt, Libin Zhu, Emmanuel F. Mongodin, Amir Sapkota, Mihai Pop, Amy R. Sapkota

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Reduced availability of agricultural water has spurred increased interest in using recycled irrigation water for U.S. food crop production. However, there are significant knowledge gaps concerning the microbiological quality of these water sources. To address these gaps, we used 16S rRNA gene and metagenomic sequencing to characterize taxonomic and functional variations (e.g., antimicrobial resistance) in bacterial communities across diverse recycled and surface water irrigation sources. We collected 1 L water samples (n = 410) between 2016 and 2018 from the Mid-Atlantic (12 sites) and Southwest (10 sites) U.S. Samples were filtered, and DNA was extracted. The V3-V4 regions of the 16S rRNA gene were then PCR amplified and sequenced. Metagenomic sequencing was also performed to characterize antibiotic, metal, and biocide resistance genes. Bacterial alpha and beta diversities were significantly different (p < 0.001) across water types and seasons. Pathogenic bacteria, such as Salmonella enterica, Staphylococcus aureus, and Aeromonas hydrophilia were observed across sample types. The most common antibiotic resistance genes identified coded against macrolides/lincosamides/streptogramins, aminoglycosides, rifampin and elfamycins, and their read counts fluctuated across seasons. We also observed multi-metal and multi-biocide resistance across all water types. To our knowledge, this is the most comprehensive longitudinal study to date of U.S. recycled water and surface water used for irrigation. Our findings improve understanding of the potential differences in the risk of exposure to bacterial pathogens and antibiotic resistance genes originating from diverse irrigation water sources across seasons and U.S. regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15019-15033
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume56
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022

Keywords

  • antibiotic resistance genes
  • antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • food safety
  • irrigation water quality
  • metagenomics
  • pathogens
  • reclaimed water
  • recycled water
  • wastewater
  • water microbiome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry

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