Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1128/spectrum.00410-22
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) Multiwalled carbon nanotubes promote bacterial conjugative plasmid transfer
Author Weise, K.; Winter, L.; Fischer, E.; Kneis, D.; de la Cruz Barron, M.; Kunze, S.; Berendonk, T.U.; Jungmann, D.; Klümper, U.
Journal Microbiology Spectrum
Year 2022
Department FLOEK
Volume 10
Issue 2
Page From e00410-22
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Keywords plasmid; MWCNT; horizontal gene transfer; antimicrobial resistance; agglomeration; emerging pollutants; nanoparticles
Abstract Multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) regularly enter aquatic environments due to their ubiquity in consumer products and engineering applications. However, the effects of MWCNT pollution on the environmental microbiome are poorly understood. Here, we evaluated whether these carbon nanoparticles can elevate the spread of antimicrobial resistance by promoting bacterial plasmid transfer, which has previously been observed for copper nanomaterials with antimicrobial properties as well as for microplastics. Through a combination of experimental liquid mating assays between Pseudomonas putida donor and recipient strains with plasmid pKJK5::gfpmut3b and mathematical modeling, we here demonstrate that the presence of MWCNTs leads to increased plasmid transfer rates in a concentration-dependent manner. The percentage of transconjugants per recipient significantly increased from 0.21 ± 0.04% in absence to 0.41 ± 0.09% at 10 mg L−1 MWCNTs. Similar trends were observed when using an Escherichia coli donor hosting plasmid pB10. The identified mechanism underlying the observed dynamics was the agglomeration of MWCNTs. A significantly increased number of particles with >6 μm diameter was detected in the presence of MWCNTs, which can in turn provide novel surfaces for bacterial interactions between donor and recipient cells after colonization. Fluorescence microscopy confirmed that MWCNT agglomerates were indeed covered in biofilms that contained donor bacteria as well as elevated numbers of green fluorescent transconjugant cells containing the plasmid. Consequently, MWCNTs provide bacteria with novel surfaces for intense cell-to-cell interactions in biofilms and can promote bacterial plasmid transfer, hence potentially elevating the spread of antimicrobial resistance.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Weise, K., Winter, L., Fischer, E., Kneis, D., de la Cruz Barron, M., Kunze, S., Berendonk, T.U., Jungmann, D., Klümper, U. (2022):
Multiwalled carbon nanotubes promote bacterial conjugative plasmid transfer
Microbiol. Spectr. 10 (2), e00410-22