Contributions of meat waste decomposition to the abundance and diversity of pathogens and antibiotic-resistance genes in the atmosphere

Sci Total Environ. 2021 Aug 25:784:147128. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.147128. Epub 2021 Apr 16.


Airborne transmission of antibiotic-resistance genes (ARGs) in landfill and acquisition of antibiotic resistance by pathogenic bacteria are posing potential threat to human and environmental health. However, little is known about contribution of waste decomposition to airborne ARGs and pathogens during landfilling of household waste. Herein, the dynamic changes of microbial communities and ARGs were comparatively investigated in leachate and bioaerosol during the decomposition of chicken, fish, and pork wastes. Results found that chicken and pork decomposition could result in emitting high abundance of bioaerosol and pathogen, while fish fermentation will lead to high airborne microbial activity. The main pathogens were Bacilli, Burkholderia-Paraburkholderia and Mycobacterium in bioaerosols, but were Wohlfahrtiimonas, Peptoniphilus and Fusobacterium in leachate, suggesting that the ability of aerosolization of bacteria in leachate was independent of their abundance and diversity. Whereas, diversity and relative abundance of ARGs in leachate were significantly higher than bioaerosol. Moreover, the relative abundance of ARGs in leachate and bioaerosols was not completely relevant. The changes of pathogenic community contributed significantly to the prevalence of ARGs in bioaerosol and leachate. The results will define the contribution of household waste decomposition to airborne pathogen and ARG distribution and provide foundation for airborne bacterial exposure risk and control in landfill.

Keywords: Antibiotic-resistance genes; Bioaerosol; Leachate; Meat waste decomposition; Pathogens.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents* / pharmacology
  • Atmosphere
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Genes, Bacterial*
  • Humans
  • Meat


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents