Stormwater runoff has been known to cause increases in bacterial loadings in urban streams. However, little is known about its impacts on antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in urban watersheds. This study was performed to characterize the ARG composition of various environmental compartments of an urban watershed and to quantify their contributions of microbes and ARGs to an urban stream under wet weather conditions. Shotgun metagenomic results showed that the ARG abundance in wet weather flow was significantly higher than in base flow. Multidrug resistance genes were the most common ARG type across environmental samples. Vancomycin resistance genes were abundant in embankment soil and street sweeping samples. Analyses using SourceTracker estimated storm drain outfall water to be the biggest contributor of microbes (54-57%) and ARGs (82-88%) in the urban stream during wet weather flows. Furthermore, results on street sweepings showed that wash-off from streets was the biggest known contributor of microbes (41-45%) and ARGs (92-96%) in storm drain outfall water. Pantoea and Pseudomonas were associated with the highest numbers of ARGs and were most abundant in stormwater-related samples. Results from this study can advance our knowledge about ARGs in urban streams, an important medium linking environmental ARGs to the general public.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry