Metaphire guillelmi gut as hospitable micro-environment for the potential transmission of antibiotic resistance genes.


Soil Ecology Lab, College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China. Electronic address: [Email]


Earthworm gut played an important role in the transformation of various contaminants in the soil environments. With the increasing application of organic fertilizer recently, the ingestion of antibiotics, antibiotic resistance bacteria (ARB), and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) made the earthworm gut a potential favorable micro-environment for the transmission of ARGs in the soil. In this work, the conventional plate incubation and high-throughput sequencing methods were both employed to investigate the composition of the cultivable and overall ARB/ARGs in the Metaphire guillelmi earthworm gut. A total of 87 cultivable isolates that resisted tetracycline (TC) and/or sulfadiazine (SD) were obtained, most of which belonged to phylum Firmicutes, genus Bacillus. Meanwhile, the counts of isolates with TC-SD dual resistance were higher than those with sole SD or TC resistance. Moreover, higher ARB counts and diversity were detected in the earthworm gut by high-throughput sequencing technique than those by the classical plate cultivation. Overall, the combination of conventional cultivable bacteria isolation and high-throughput sequencing methods provided a comprehensive understanding of the ARB composition in the earthworm gut. The results demonstrate that the earthworm gut is a hospitable micro-environment for ARB colonization. The potential role of earthworm intestinal ARB and ARGs proliferation in soil environments warrants further research.


ARB,ARGs,Earthworm gut,Intestinal bacterial community,Sulfadiazine,Tetracycline,