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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