Dissolved oxygen facilitates efficiency of chlorine disinfection for antibiotic resistance

Shuai Zhang, Zheng Yao, Shu Wang, Yu Zhang, Tao Liu, Xiaojun Zuo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Controlling the dissemination of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) is a global concern. While commonly used chlorine disinfectants can damage or even kill ARB, dissolved oxygen (DO) may affect the formation of reactive chlorine species. This leads to the hypothesis that DO may play roles in mediating the effectiveness of chlorine disinfection for antibiotic resistance. To this end, this study investigated the impacts of DO on the efficiency of chlorine disinfection for antibiotic resistance. The results revealed that DO could increase the inactivation efficiency of ARB under chloramine and free chlorine exposure at practically relevant concentrations. Reactive species induced by DO, including H2O2, [rad]O2, and [rad]OH, inactivated ARB strains by triggering oxidative stress response and cell membrane damage. In addition, the removal efficiency of extracellular ARGs (i.e. tetA and blaTEM) was enhanced with increasing dosage of free chlorine or chloramine under aerobic conditions. DO facilitated the fragmentation of plasmids, contributing to the degradation of extracellular ARGs under exposure to chlorine disinfectants. The findings suggested that DO facilitates disinfection efficiency for antibiotic resistance in water treatment systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number173210
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibiotic resistance gene
  • Antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • Chlorine disinfection
  • Dissolved oxygen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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