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First Author: ZHAO Cai-Xia

Rapid spread of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in pathogens is threatening human health. Integrons allow bacteria to integrate and express foreign genes, facilitating horizontal transfer of ARGs in environments. Consumption of raw vegetables represents a pathway for human exposure to environmental ARGs. However, few studies have focused on integron-associated ARGs in the endophytes of raw vegetables. Here, based on the approach of qPCR and clone library, we quantified the abundance of integrase genes and analyzed the diversity and contents of resistance gene cassettes in class 1 integrons from the endophytes of six common raw vegetables. The results revealed that integrase genes for class 1 integron were most prevalent compared with class 2 and class 3 integron integrase genes (1–2 order magnitude, P < 0.05). The cucumber endophytes harbored a higher absolute abundance of integrase genes than other vegetables, while the highest bacterial abundance was detected in cabbage and cucumber endophytes. Thirty-two unique resistance gene cassettes were detected, the majority of which were associated with the genes encoding resistance to beta-lactam and aminoglycoside. Antibiotic resistance gene cassettes accounted for 52.5 % of the functionally annotated gene cassettes, and blaTEM-157 and aadA2 were the most frequently detected resistance cassettes. Additionally, carrot endophytes harbored the highest proportion of antibiotic resistance gene cassettes in the class 1 integrons. Collectively, these results provide an in-depth view of acquired resistance genes by integrons in the raw vegetable endophytes and highlight the potential health risk of the transmission of ARGs via the food chain. 


Contact the author: AN Xin-Li
Page Number: 114282
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PubYear: December 2022
Volume: 247
Publication Name: Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety
The full text link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2022.114282