Does antifouling paint select for antibiotic resistance?
Journal article, 2017

There is concern that heavy metals and biocides contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance via co-selection. Most antifouling paints contain high amounts of such substances, which risks turning painted ship hulls into highly mobile refuges and breeding grounds for antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The objectives of this study were to start investigate if heavy-metal based antifouling paints can pose a risk for co-selection of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and, if so, identify the underlying genetic basis. Plastic panels with one side painted with copper and zinc-containing antifouling paint were submerged in a Swedish marina and biofilms from both sides of the panels were harvested after 2.5-4 weeks. DNA was isolated from the biofilms and subjected to metagenomic sequencing. Biofilm bacteria were cultured on marine agar supplemented with tetracycline, gentamicin, copper sulfate or zinc sulfate. Biofilm communities from painted surfaces displayed lower taxonomic diversity and enrichment of Gammaproteobacteria. Bacteria from these communities showed increased resistance to both heavy metals and tetracycline but not to gentamicin. Significantly higher abundance of metal and biocide resistance genes was observed, whereas mobile antibiotic resistance genes were not enriched in these communities. In contrast, we found an enrichment of chromosomal RND efflux system genes, including such with documented ability to confer decreased susceptibility to both antibiotics and biocides/heavy metals. This was paralleled by increased abundances of integron-associated integrase and ISCR transposase genes. The results show that the heavy metal-based antifouling paint exerts a strong selection pressure on marine bacterial communities and can co-select for certain antibiotic-resistant bacteria, likely by favoring species and strains carrying genes that provide cross-resistance. Although this does not indicate an immediate risk for promotion of mobile antibiotic resistance, the clear increase of genes involved in mobilizing DNA provides a foundation for increased opportunities for gene transfer in such communities, which might also involve yet unknown resistance mechanisms.

Integron

progenitor

carbapenem-hydrolyzing oxacillinase

Metagenomics

gene

coselection

integron diversity

Antibiotic resistance

beta-lactamase

RND efflux pump

identification

cassettes

water

coatings

gram-negative bacteria

Metal resistance

Marine bacteria

Author

Carl-Fredrik Flach

University of Gothenburg

C. Pal

University of Gothenburg

Carl Johan Svensson

University of Gothenburg

Erik Kristiansson

University of Gothenburg

Chalmers, Mathematical Sciences, Applied Mathematics and Statistics

M. Ostman

Umeå University

Johan Bengtsson-Palme

University of Gothenburg

M. Tysklind

Umeå University

D. G. Joakim Larsson

University of Gothenburg

Science of the Total Environment

0048-9697 (ISSN)

Vol. 590 461-468

Subject Categories

Infectious Medicine

Microbiology

Microbiology in the medical area

DOI

10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.01.213

PubMed

28284638

More information

Latest update

3/7/2018 1