Significant tipping points of sediment microeukaryotes forewarn increasing antibiotic pollution

Jinbo Xiong , Chaohua Wang , Zhiyuan Yao , Pingping Zhan , Xianghua Yi , Jiong Chen


Received April 22, 2021,Revised , Accepted October 27, 2021, Available online February 12, 2022

Volume 35,2023,Pages 429-439

Antibiotic pollution imposes urgent threats to public health and microbial-mediated ecological processes. Existing studies have primarily focused on bacterial responses to antibiotic pollution, but they ignored the microeukaryotic counterpart, though microeukaryotes are functionally important (e.g., predators and saprophytes) in microbial ecology. Herein, we explored how the assembly of sediment microeukaryotes was affected by increasing antibiotic pollution at the inlet (control) and across the outlet sites along a shrimp wastewater discharge channel. The structures of sediment microeukaryotic community were substantially altered by the increasing nutrient and antibiotic pollutions, which were primarily controlled by the direct effects of phosphate and ammonium (−0.645 and 0.507, respectively). In addition, tetracyclines exerted a large effect (0.209), including direct effect (0.326) and indirect effect (−0.117), on the microeukaryotic assembly. On the contrary, the fungal subcommunity was relatively resistant to antibiotic pollution. Segmented analysis depicted nonlinear responses of microeukaryotic genera to the antibiotic pollution gradient, as supported by the significant tipping points. We screened 30 antibiotic concentration-discriminatory taxa of microeukaryotes, which can quantitatively and accurately predict (98.7% accuracy) the in-situ antibiotic concentration. Sediment microeukaryotic (except fungal) community is sensitive to antibiotic pollution, and the identified bioindicators could be used for antibiotic pollution diagnosis.

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