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Influence of Manure Application on the Environmental Resistome under Finnish Agricultural Practice with Restricted Antibiotic Use

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journal contribution
posted on 28.04.2017, 00:00 by Johanna Muurinen, Robert Stedtfeld, Antti Karkman, Katariina Pärnänen, James Tiedje, Marko Virta
The co-occurrence of antibiotic-resistance genes (ARGs) and mobile genetic elements (MGEs) in farm environments can potentially foster the development of antibiotic-resistant pathogens. We studied the resistome of Finnish dairy and swine farms where use of antibiotics is limited to treating bacterial infections and manure is only applied from April to September. The resistome of manure, soil, and tile drainage water from the ditch was investigated from the beginning of the growing season until forage harvest. The relative ARG and MGE abundance was measured using a qPCR array with 363 primer pairs. Manure samples had the highest abundance of ARGs and MGEs, which increased during storage. Immediately following land application, the ARGs abundant in manure were detected in soil, but their abundance decreased over time with many becoming undetectable. This suggests that increases in ARG abundances after fertilizing are temporary and occur annually under agricultural practices that restrict antibiotic use. A few of the ARGs were detected in the ditch water, but most of them were undetected in the manure. Our results document the dissipation and dissemination off farm of ARGs under Finnish limited antibiotic use and suggest that such practices could help reduce the load of antibiotic-resistance genes in the environment.