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Impact of biochar on persistence and diffusion of antibiotic resistance genes in sediment from an aquaculture pond


Aquaculture sediments are a purported sizable pool of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). However, the pathways for transmission of ARGs from sediments to animals and humans remain unclear. We conducted an ARG survey in sediments from a bullfrog production facility located in Guangdong, China, and simulated zebrafish breeding systems were constructed, with or without biochar addition in sediments, to explore the effects of biochar on ARGs and their precursors of the sediment and zebrafish gut. After 60 days, 6 subtypes of ARGs and intI1 were detected, with sediments harboring more ARGs than zebrafish gut. The addition of biochar reduced the abundance of ARGs in the sediment and zebrafish gut, as well as suppressed the horizontal transmission of ARGs from sediment to zebrafish gut. Network analysis and partial least squares path modeling revealed that ARG enrichment was mainly affected by bacterial groups dominated by Nitrospirae, Gemmatimonades, Chloroflexi, and Cyanobacteria and intI1. Our findings provide insights into the transmission of ARGs from sediment to animals and highlight the efficacy of biochar amendments to aquaculture sediments to reduce the transmission of ARGs.

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