Effects of environmentally relevant concentrations of oxytetracycline and sulfadiazine on the bacterial communities, antibiotic resistance genes, and functional genes are different between maize rhizosphere and bulk soil

Zekun Zhang, Le Zhao, Jie Yang, Jiayin Pang, Hans Lambers, Honghua He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Antibiotic contamination in soil has become a major concern worldwide. At present, it is not clear how two co-existed antibiotics with environmentally relevant concentrations would affect soil bacterial community structure, the abundances of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and functional genes, and whether the effects of antibiotics would differ between rhizosphere and bulk soil. We conducted a greenhouse pot experiment to grow maize in a loess soil treated with oxytetracycline (OTC) or sulfadiazine (SDZ) or both at an environmentally relevant concentration (1 mg kg−1) to investigate the effects of OTC and SDZ on the rhizosphere and bulk soil bacterial communities, abundances of ARGs and carbon (C)-, nitrogen (N)-, and phosphorus (P)-cycling functional genes, and on plant growth and plant N and P nutrition. The results show that the effects of environmentally relevant concentrations of OTC and SDZ on bacterial communities and abundances of ARGs and functional genes differ between maize rhizosphere and bulk soil. The effects of two antibiotics resulted in a higher absolute abundances of accA, tet(34), tnpA-04, and sul2 in the rhizosphere soil than in the bulk soil and different bacterial community compositions and biomarkers in the rhizosphere soil and the bulk soil. However, OTC had a stronger inhibitory effect on the abundances of a few functional genes in the bulk soil than SDZ did, and their combination had no synergistic effect on plant growth, ARGs, and functional genes. The role of co-existed OTC and SDZ decreased shoot height and increased root N concentration. The results demonstrate that environmentally relevant concentrations of antibiotics shift soil microbial community structure, increase the abundances of ARGs, and reduce the abundances of functional genes. Furthermore, soil contamination with antibiotics can diminish agricultural production via phytotoxic effects on crops, and combined effects of antibiotics on plant growth and nutrient uptake should be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22663-22678
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Volume31
Issue number15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

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