Mechanistic insight of simultaneous removal of tetracycline and its related antibiotic resistance bacteria and genes by ferrate(VI). Academic Article uri icon


  • The emergence of antibiotics and their corresponding antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB) and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) have posed great challenges to the public health. The paper demonstrates the removal of co-existing tetracycline (TC), its resistant Escherichia coli (E. coli), and ARGs (tetA and tetR) in a mixed system by applying ferrate(VI) (FeVIO42-, Fe(VI)) at pH 7.0. TC was efficiently degraded by Fe(VI), and the rapid inactivation of the resistant E. coli was found with the complete loss of culturability. The results of flow cytometry suggested that the damage of membrane integrity and respiratory activity were highly correlated with the Fe(VI) dosages. Moreover, high-dose Fe(VI) eliminates 6 log10 viable but non-culturable (VBNC) cells and even breaks the cells into fragments. ARGs in extracellular form (e-ARGs) exhibited a high sensitivity of 4.44 log10 removal to Fe(VI). Comparatively, no removal of intracellular ARGs (i-ARGs) was observed due to the multi-protection of cellular structure and rapid decay of Fe(VI). The oxidized products of TC were assessed to be less toxic than the parent compound. Overall, this study demonstrated the superior efficiency and great promise of Fe(VI) on simultaneous removal of antibiotics and their related ARB and ARGs in water.

published proceedings

  • Sci Total Environ

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, Y., Zhang, M., Ye, C., Feng, M., Wan, K., Lin, W., Sharma, V. K., & Yu, X.

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

  • Zhang, Yiting||Zhang, Menglu||Ye, Chengsong||Feng, Mingbao||Wan, Kun||Lin, Wenfang||Sharma, Virender K||Yu, Xin

publication date

  • September 2021