Copper stimulates the incidence of antibiotic resistance, metal resistance and potential pathogens in the gut of black soldier fly larvae

Xiaoyan Xu , Nan Wu , Jiaqi Liang , Xiaobo Wang , Shiyu Xie


Received September 27, 2020,Revised , Accepted February 05, 2021, Available online February 24, 2021

Volume 33,2021,Pages 150-159

The black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) have been successfully applied to treat various organic wastes. However, the impacts of heavy metals on antibiotic resistance in the BSFL guts are poorly understood. Here, we investigated the effect of copper (exposure concentrations of 0, 100 and 800 mg/kg) on the antibiotic and metal resistance profiles in BSFL guts. A total of 83 antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs), 18 mobile genetic elements (MGEs) and 6 metal resistance genes (MRGs) were observed in larval gut samples. Exposure to Cu remarkably reduced the diversity of ARGs and MGEs, but significantly enhanced the abundances of gut-associated ARGs and MRGs. The levels of MRGs copA, czcA and pbrT were dramatically strengthened after Cu exposure as compared with CK (increased by 2.8–13.5 times). Genera Enterococcus acted as the most predominant potential host of multiple ARG, MGE and MRG subtypes. Meanwhile, high exposure to Cu aggravated the enrichment of potential pathogens in BSFL guts, especially for Escherichia, Enterococcus and Salmonella species. The mantel test and procrustes analysis revealed that the gut microbial communities could be a key determinant for antibiotic and metal resistance. However, no significant positive links were observed between MGEs and ARGs or MRGs, possibly suggesting that MGEs did not play a crucial role in shaping the ARGs or MRGs in BSFL guts under the stress of Cu. These findings extend our understanding on the impact of heavy metals on the gut-associated antibiotic and metal resistome of BSFL.

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