Urban floodwater could lead to significant risk for public and environmental health from mobilization of microbial pathogens and overflow of wastewater treatment systems. Here, we attempted to assess this risk by obtaining metagenomic profiles of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs), virulence factors (VFs) and pathogens present in floodwater samples collected in urban Atlanta, GA that were categorized in two distinct groups: floods that occurred after periods of drought and those after regular (seasonal) rain events. Even though no major (known) pathogens were present at the limit of detection of our sequencing effort (~3 Gbp/sample), we observed that floodwaters after drought showed a 2.5-fold higher abundance of both ARGs and VFs compared to floodwater after rainy days. These differences were mainly derived by several novel species of the Pseudomonas genus, which were more dominant in the former versus the latter samples and carried several genes to cope with osmotic stress in addition to ARGs and VFs. These results revealed that there are previously undescribed species that become mobilized after flooding events in the Southeast US urban settings and could represent an increased public health risk, especially after periods of drought, which warrants further attention.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was also partly supported by a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (P30 ES019776) to the HERCULES Exposome Research Center at Emory University.
© 2022 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)