Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 82, Issue 3, pp 397–414

Antibiotic resistance genes in water environment


DOI: 10.1007/s00253-008-1829-z

Cite this article as:
Zhang, XX., Zhang, T. & Fang, H.H.P. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol (2009) 82: 397. doi:10.1007/s00253-008-1829-z


The use of antibiotics may accelerate the development of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and bacteria which shade health risks to humans and animals. The emerging of ARGs in the water environment is becoming an increasing worldwide concern. Hundreds of various ARGs encoding resistance to a broad range of antibiotics have been found in microorganisms distributed not only in hospital wastewaters and animal production wastewaters, but also in sewage, wastewater treatment plants, surface water, groundwater, and even in drinking water. This review summarizes recently published information on the types, distributions, and horizontal transfer of ARGs in various aquatic environments, as well as the molecular methods used to detect environmental ARGs, including specific and multiplex PCR (polymerase chain reaction), real-time PCR, DNA sequencing, and hybridization based techniques.


Antibiotic resistance gene Environmental pollution Gene transfer Molecular detection method Water environment 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xu-Xiang Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tong Zhang
    • 1
  • Herbert H. P. Fang
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental Biotechnology Lab,Department of Civil EngineeringThe University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  2. 2.Department of Environmental ScienceNanjing UniversityNanjingChina

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