Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 101, Issue 22, pp 8197–8207 | Cite as

Cultivation-dependent and high-throughput sequencing approaches studying the co-occurrence of antibiotic resistance genes in municipal sewage system

  • An-Dong Li
  • Liping Ma
  • Xiao-Tao Jiang
  • Tong ZhangEmail author
Genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics


During the past years, antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) leading for the spreading of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) became a global problem, especially multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria are considered the prime culprit of antibiotic resistance. However, the correlation between the antibiotic-resistant phenotype and the ARG profiles remains poorly understood. In the present study, metagenomic functional screening and metagenomic analysis of coliforms were combined to explore the phenotype and genotype of the ARBs from municipal sewage. Our results showed that the ARG co-occurrence was widespread in the municipal sewage. The present study also highlighted the high abundance of ARGs from antibiotic resistance coliforms especially the MDR coliforms with ARG level of 33.8 ± 4.2 copies per cell. The ARG profiles and the antibiotic resistance phenotypes of the isolated antibiotic resistant coliforms were also correlated and indicated that the resistance to the related antibiotic (ampicillin, kanamycin, erythromycin, chloramphenicol, and tetracycline) was mostly contributed by the ARGs belonging to the subtypes of β-lactamase, aminoglycoside 3-phosphotransferase, phosphotransferase type 2, chloramphenicol acetyltransferase, tetA, etc.


Antibiotic resistance Municipal sewage Coliform High-throughput sequencing Functional screening 



AD.L., L.M., and XT.J. thank The University of Hong Kong for the postgraduate studentship.


The present study was funded by the RGC Collaborative Research Fund (C7044-14G).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

253_2017_8573_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.5 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 1511 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • An-Dong Li
    • 1
  • Liping Ma
    • 1
  • Xiao-Tao Jiang
    • 1
  • Tong Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory, Department of Civil EngineeringThe University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong

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