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Cattle–compost–soil: The transfer of antibiotic resistance inlivestock agriculture

Antibiotic resistance is a major global health threat. Agricultural use of antibiotics is

considered to be a main contributor to the issue, influencing both animals and

humans as defined by the One Health approach. The purpose of the present study

was to determine the abundance of antibiotic‐resistant bacterial populations and the

overall bacterial diversity of cattle farm soils that have been treated with animal

manure compost. Soil and manure samples were collected from different sites at

Tullimba farm, NSW. Cultures were grown from these samples in the presence of 11

commonly used antibiotics and antibiotic‐resistant bacteria (ARB) colonies were

identified. Soil and manure bacterial diversity was also determined using 16S

ribosomal RNA next‐generation sequencing. Results showed that ARB abundance

was greatest in fresh manure and significantly lower in composted manure.

However, the application of composted manure on paddock soil led to a significant

increase in soil ARB abundance. Of the antibiotics tested, the number of ARB in each

sample was greatest for antibiotics that inhibited the bacterial cell wall and protein

synthesis. Collectively, these results suggest that the transfer of antibiotic resistance

from composted animal manure to soil may not be solely mediated through the

application of live bacteria and highlight the need for further research into the

mechanism of antibiotic resistance transfer.

Abbas, F., Thomas, P., Cully-Duse, B., Andronicos, N. M., & Winter, G. (2023). Cattle–compost–soil: The transfer of antibiotic resistance in livestock agriculture. MicrobiologyOpen, 12, e1375.

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