Recent Published Articles

Metagenomic insights into microorganisms and antibiotic resistance genes of waste antibiotic fermentation residues along production, storage and treatment processes


Yu Zhang , Ziming Han , Xiao Luan , Haodi Feng , Yanqin Deng , Min Yang

DOI:10.1016/j.jes.2022.10.035

Received August 16, 2022,Revised , Accepted October 24, 2022, Available online November 10, 2022

Volume 36,2024,Pages 45-55

Antibiotic fermentation residue (AFR) is nutrient-rich solid waste generated from fermentative antibiotic production process. It is demonstrated that AFR contains high-concentration of remaining antibiotics, and thus may promote antibiotic resistance development in receiving environment or feeding farmed animals. However, the dominate microorganisms and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in AFRs have not been adequately explored, hampering understanding on the potential antibiotic resistance risk development caused by AFRs. Herein, seven kinds of representative AFRs along their production, storage, and treatment processes were collected, and multiple methods including amplicon sequencing, metagenomic sequencing, and bioinformatic approaches were adopted to explore the biological characteristics of AFRs. As expected, antibiotic fermentation producer was found as the predominant species in raw AFRs, which were collected at the outlet of fermentation tanks. However, except for producer species, more environment-derived species persisted in stored AFRs, which were temporarily stored at a semi-open space. Lactobacillus genus, classified as Firmicutes phylum and Bacilli class, became predominant bacterial taxa in stored AFRs, which might attribute to its tolerance to high concentration of antibiotics. Results from metagenomic sequencing together with assembly and binning approaches showed that these newly-colonizing species (e.g., Lactobacillus genus) tended to carry ARGs conferring resistance to the remaining antibiotic. However, after thermal treatment, remaining antibiotic could be efficiently removed from AFRs, and microorganisms together with DNA could be strongly destroyed. In sum, the main risk from the AFRs was the remaining antibiotic, while environment-derived bacteria which tolerate extreme environment, survived in ARFs with high content antibiotics, and may carry ARGs. Thus, hydrothermal or other harmless treatment technologies are recommended to remove antibiotic content and inactivate bacteria before recycling of AFRs in pharmaceutical industry.

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