Nevin Manimala Statistics

Characteristics of Wild Bird Resistomes and Dissemination of Antibiotic Resistance Genes in Interconnected Bird-Habitat Systems Revealed by Similarity of blaTEM Polymorphic Sequences

Environ Sci Technol. 2022 Jun 14. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.2c01633. Online ahead of print.


Wild birds are known to harbor and discharge antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) and their associated antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). However, assessments of their contribution to the dissemination of antibiotic resistance in the environment are limited to culture-dependent bacterial snapshots. Here, we present a high-throughput sequencing study that corroborates extensive ARG exchange between wild bird feces and their habitats and implies the need to scrutinize high-mobility birds as potential vectors for global propagation of ARGs. We characterized the resistome (281 ARGs) and microbiome of seven wild bird species and their terrestrial and aquatic habitats. The resistomes of bird feces were influenced by the microbial community structure, mobile genetic elements (MGEs), and residual antibiotics. We designated 33 ARGs found in more than 90% of the bird fecal samples as core ARGs of wild bird feces, among which 16 ARGs were shared as core ARGs in both wild bird feces and their habitats; these genes represent a large proportion of both the bird feces (35.0 ± 15.9%) and the environmental resistome (29.9 ± 21.4%). One of the most detected β-lactam resistance genes (blaTEM, commonly harbored by multidrug resistant “superbugs”) was used as molecular marker to demonstrate the high interconnectivity of ARGs between the microbiomes of wild birds and their habitats. Overall, this work provides a comprehensive analysis of the wild bird resistome and underscores the importance to consider genetic exchange between animals and the environment in the One Health approach.

PMID:35700319 | DOI:10.1021/acs.est.2c01633

By Nevin Manimala

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