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Combination of antibiotics suppressed the increase of a part of ARGs in fecal microorganism of weaned pigs


The presence of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) is one of the most important public health concerns. Six tetracycline resistance genes (TRGs—tetA, tetC, tetL, tetO, tetW, and tetX) were quantified using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) in the fecal microorganisms of weaned pigs. Two hundred 35-day-old weaned pigs were fed different dietary antibiotics for 28 days: (1) no antibiotic as the control treatment (CT); (2) chlortetracycline, bacitracin zinc and colistin sulfate (CBC); (3) bacitracin zinc and colistin sulfate (BC); and (4) chlortetracycline (CTC). The detection frequencies (DFs) of tetC, tetL, and tetW were 100 %; and the DFs of tetA, tetD, tetM, tetO, and tetX were 65 %. The relative abundances (tet/16S rRNA gene copy numbers) of six tet genes (tetA, tetC, tetL, tetO, tetW and tetX) were between 1.5 × 10−4 and 2.0 × 10−1. In the group CTC, the relative abundances of tetC (P < 0.01), tetL (P < 0.01), tetO (P < 0.05), tetW (P < 0.01), and tetX (P < 0.01) were greater than those of the group CT. Compared with the group CTC, the relative abundances of tetC (P < 0.01), tetL (P < 0.01), and tetW (P < 0.01) were decreased in the CBC and BC groups. These results indicate that a combination of different antibiotics suppressed the abundance increase of a part of tet genes, which suggests that a combination of antibiotics produces multiple selection pressures on fecal microorganism of pigs.

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Antibiotic resistance genes


Tetracycline resistance genes

Tet :



Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction


Detection frequencies


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We are grateful to Jiangsu Yong-kang Agricultural and Animal Husbandry Co., Ltd. for the experimental animals.

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Correspondence to Bo Zhou.

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The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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Responsible editor: Robert Duran

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Li, H., Chu, Q., Xu, F. et al. Combination of antibiotics suppressed the increase of a part of ARGs in fecal microorganism of weaned pigs. Environ Sci Pollut Res 23, 18183–18191 (2016).

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  • Chlortetracycline
  • Fecal microorganism
  • Pigs
  • tet genes
  • Tetracycline resistance
  • qPCR