Environmental Pollution ( IF 6.792 ) Pub Date : 2021-02-22 , DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2021.116760 Masood ur Rehman Kayani; Kan Yu; Yushu Qiu; Yao Shen; Caixia Gao; Ru Feng; Xinxin Zeng; Weiye Wang; Lei Chen; Huang Li Su
A paradoxical impact of high rates of production and consumption of antibiotics is their widespread release in the environment. Consequently, low concentrations of antibiotics and their byproducts have been routinely identified from various environmental settings especially from aquatic environments. However, the impact of such low concentrations of antibiotics on the exposed host especially in early life remains poorly understood. We exposed zebrafish to two different environmental concentrations of oxytetracycline and sulfamethoxazole, from larval stage to adulthood (∼120 days) and characterized their impact on the taxonomic diversity, antibiotic resistance genes, and metabolic pathways of the gut microbiome using metagenomic shotgun sequencing and analysis. Long term exposure of environmental concentrations of oxytetracycline and sulfamethoxazole significantly impacted the taxonomic composition and metabolic pathways of zebrafish gut microbiome. The antibiotic exposed samples exhibited significant enrichment of multiple flavobacterial species, including Flavobacterium sp. F52, Flavobacterium johnsoniae and Flavobacterium sp. Fl, which are well known pathogenic bacteria. The relative abundance of antibiotic resistance genes, especially several tetratcycline and sulfonamide resistance genes were significantly higher in the exposed samples and showed a linear correlation with the antibiotic concentrations. Furthermore, several metabolic pathways, including folate biosynthesis, oxidative phosphorylation, and biotin metabolism pathways, showed significant enrichment in the antibiotic exposed samples. Collectively, our results suggest that early life exposure of the environmental concentrations of antibiotics can increase the abundance of unfavorable bacteria, antibiotic resistance genes and associated pathways in the gut microbiome of zebrafish.