“Toward a universal unit for quantification of antibiotic resistance genes in environmental samples", a paper in Environmental Science & Technology

Jul 28, 2023

Professor Tong Zhang of the Department of Civil Engineering led a group of international researchers from all over the world for the research topic “Toward a Universal Unit for Quantification of Antibiotic Resistance Genes in Environmental Samples”. The research findings were recently published in Environmental Science & Technology on June 13, 2023.


Details of the publication:

Toward a Universal Unit for Quantification of Antibiotic Resistance Genes in Environmental Samples

Xiaole Yin, Xi Chen, Xiao-Tao Jiang, Ying Yang, Bing Li, Marcus Ho-Hin Shum, Tommy T. Y. Lam, Gabriel M. Leung, Joan Rose, Concepcion Sanchez-Cid, Timothy M. Vogel, Fiona Walsh, Thomas U. Berendonk, Janet Midega, Chibuzor Uchea, Dominic Frigon, Gerard D. Wright, Carlos Bezuidenhout, Renata C. Picão, Shaikh Z. Ahammad, Per Halkjær Nielsen, Philip Hugenholtz, Nicholas J. Ashbolt, Gianluca Corno, Despo Fatta-Kassinos, Helmut Bürgmann, Heike Schmitt, Chang-Jun Cha, Amy Pruden, Kornelia Smalla, Eddie Cytryn, Yu Zhang, Min Yang, Yong-Guan Zhu, Arnaud Dechesne, Barth F. Smets, David W. Graham, Michael R. Gillings, William H. Gaze, Célia M. Manaia, Mark C. M. van Loosdrecht, Pedro J. J. Alvarez, Martin J. Blaser, James M. Tiedje, Edward Topp, and Tong Zhang, Article in Environmental Science & Technology,



Surveillance of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) has been increasingly conducted in environmental sectors to complement the surveys in human and animal sectors under the “One-Health” framework. However, there are substantial challenges in comparing and synthesizing the results of multiple studies that employ different test methods and approaches in bioinformatic analysis. In this article, we consider the commonly used quantification units (ARG copy per cell, ARG copy per genome, ARG density, ARG copy per 16S rRNA gene, RPKM, coverage, PPM, etc.) for profiling ARGs and suggest a universal unit (ARG copy per cell) for reporting such biological measurements of samples and improving the comparability of different surveillance efforts.