M.R. Jumat, M.F. Haroon, N. Al-Jassim, H. Cheng, P.-Y. Hong
Water, Volume 10, Issue 4, (2018)
Acinetobacter junii, Wastewater treatment plant, Antibiotic resistance, Metal resistance genes, Persistence
A membrane bioreactor (MBR)-based wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in Saudi Arabia is assessed over a five-month period in 2015 and once in 2017 for bacterial diversity and transcriptional activity using metagenomics, metatranscriptomics and real time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). Acinetobacter spp. are shown to be enriched in the chlorinated effluent. Members of the Acinetobacter genus are the most abundant in the effluent and chlorinated effluent. At the species level, Acinetobacter junii have higher relative abundances post MBR and chlorination. RNA-seq analysis show that, in A. junii, 288 genes and 378 genes are significantly upregulated in the effluent and chlorinated effluent, respectively, with 98 genes being upregulated in both. RT-qPCR of samples in 2015 and 2017 confirm the upregulation observed in RNA-seq. Analysis of the 98 genes show that majority of the upregulated genes are involved in cellular repair and metabolism followed by resistance, virulence, and signaling. Additionally, two different subpopulations of A. junii are observed in the effluent and chlorinated effluent. The upregulation of cellular repair and metabolism genes, and the formation of different subpopulations of A. junii in both effluents provide insights into the mechanisms employed by A. junii to persist in the conditions of a WWTP.