High levels of antibiotic resistance genes and their correlations with bacterial community and mobile genetic elements in pharmaceutical wastewater treatment bioreactors

To understand the diversity and abundance of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in pharmaceutical wastewater treatment bioreactors, the ARGs in sludge from two full-scale pharmaceutical wastewater treatment plants (PWWTPs) were investigated and compared with sludge samples from three sewage treatment plants (STPs) using metagenomic approach. The results showed that the ARG abundances in PWWTP sludge ranged from 54.7 to 585.0 ppm, which were higher than those in STP sludge (27.2 to 86.4 ppm). Moreover, the diversity of ARGs in PWWTP aerobic sludge (153 subtypes) was higher than that in STP aerobic sludge (118 subtypes).

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