Factors influencing the removal of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes by the electrokinetic treatment
Li, H.; Li, B.; Zhang, Z.; Tian, Y.; Ye, J.; Lv, X.; Zhu, C.
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 160: 207-215
The performance of the electrokinetic remediation process on the removal of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) was evaluated with different influencing factors. With chlortetracycline (CTC), oxytetracycline (OTC), and tetracycline (TC) as template chemicals, the removal of both ARB and ARGs was enhanced with the increase of voltage gradient (0.4-1.2 V cm-1) and prolonged reaction time (3-14 d). The greatest removal (26.01-31.48% for ARB, 37.93-83.10% for ARGs) was obtained applying a voltage of 1.2 V cm-1, leading to the highest electrical consumption. The effect of polarity reversal intervals on the inactivation ratio of ARB followed the order of 0 h (66.06-80.00%) > 12 h (17.07-24.75%) > 24 h (10.44-13.93%). Lower pH, higher current density, and more evenly-distributed voltage drop was observed with a polarity reversal interval of 12 h compared with that of 24 h, leading to more efficient electrochemical reactions in soil. Compared with sul genes, tet genes were more vulnerable to be attacked in an electric field. It was mainly attributed to the lower abundance of tet genes (except tetM) and the varied effects of electrokinetic remediation process on different ARGs. Moreover, a relatively less removal ratio of tetC and tetG was obtained mainly due to the mechanism of the efflux pump upregulation. Both tet and sul genes were positively correlated with TC-resistant bacteria. The efflux pump genes like tetG and the cellular protection genes like tetM showed different correlations with ARB. This study enhances the current understanding on the removal strategies of ARB and ARGs, and it provides important parameters for their destruction by the electrokinetic treatment.