Increased inheritance of structure and function of bacterial communities and pathogen propagation in plastisphere along a river with increasing antibiotics pollution gradient

Date of publication 24 August 2020

Authors Xue, Nana; Wang, Liyi; Li, Wenfeng; Wang, Shanshan; Pan, Xiangliang; Zhang, Daoyong.

Sources Environmental Pollution : 265 (DocId: PT A)



Plastic debris provides a stable substrate and novel ecological niche for microorganisms in the aquatic environment, which was referred to as “Plastisphere”. Little is known about distribution patterns and responses of ecological function and structure of microbial communities in the plastisphere along rivers which usually have antibiotics pollution gradient. In this study, the differences in the community structure between the plastisphere and the planktonic bacteria, and their spatial variation of the community structure and function along a river with increased antibiotics pollution gradient was investigated at the watershed scale. The diversity of bacteria colonized on most plastic debris was higher than in surrounding water. Plastic debris could accumulate a higher abundance of some potential pathogens than surrounding water even at high antibiotics concentrations. The source tracking results showed that downstream plastisphere inherited much higher proportions of bacterial taxa from upstream than planktonic bacteria. About 92.3-99.7% of bacteria communities in downstream water were not from upstream but from the input of downstream human activities. On the contrary, high proportions of bacterial taxa in downstream plastisphere were closely connected to upstream. The plastisphere possesses higher ecological functional diversity than the planktonic bacteria. Seventy nine functional groups across plastisphere were predicted using functional annotation of prokaryotic taxa and only 65 functional groups were found in the planktonic bacteria. Plastisphere also acts as hotspot for biogeochemical cycling of nutrients such as N and S. Intensive human activities of urban and downstream agriculture and aquaculture had great effects on microbial community structure and functional groups of the Urumqi River. Pastisphere communities are much more resistant to human disturbance than planktonic bacteria. Compared to surrounding water, plastisphere increased inheritance from upstream microbial structure and function and also increased survival and propagation of pathogens in the downstream water with high concentrations of antibiotics.

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