Diversity and abundance of antibiotic resistance genes and their relationship with nutrients and land use of the inflow rivers of Taihu Lake

Prilli Arista Fernanda, Shuang Liu, Tianma Yuan, Bharathi Ramalingam, Jing Lu, Raju Sekar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Taihu Lake is the third largest freshwater lake in China and an important source for drinking water, flood protection, aquaculture, agriculture, and other activities. This lake is connected to many principal and small rivers with inflow from west and outflow on the eastern side of the lake and these inflow rivers are believed to significantly contribute to the water pollution of the lake. This study was aimed at assessing the diversity and abundance of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and mobile genetic elements (MGEs), and their relationship with water quality parameters and land use patterns. Water samples were collected from 10 major inflow rivers and the source water protection area of the Taihu Lake in spring and summer 2019. High-throughput profiling was used to detect and quantify 384 ARGs and MGEs and in addition, 11 water quality parameters were analyzed. The results showed that the number of ARGs/MGEs detected in each inflow river ranged from 105 to 185 in spring and 107 to 180 in summer. The aminoglycoside resistance genes were the most dominant types ARGs detected followed by beta-lactam resistance, multidrug resistance, macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B (MLSB) resistance genes, which contributed to 65% of the ARGs. The water quality parameters showed significant correlation with absolute abundance of ARGs. Furthermore, significant correlation between ARGs and MGEs were also observed which demonstrates potential gene transfer among organisms through horizontal gene transfer via MGEs. ARGs showed strong positive correlation with cultivated and industrial lands whereas, negative correlation was observed with river, lake, forest, land for green buffer, and land for port and harbor. The overall results indicate that the inflow rivers of Taihu Lake are polluted by various sources including multiple nutrients and high abundance of ARGs, which needs attention for better management of the inflow rivers of this lake.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1009297
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2022


  • Taihu Lake
  • antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs)
  • high-throughput profiling
  • inflow rivers
  • land use
  • water quality


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