Soil texture-depending effects of doxycycline and streptomycin applied with manure on the bacterial community composition and resistome

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Veterinary antibiotics, bacteria carrying antibiotic resistance determinants located on mobile genetic elements and nutrients are spread on agricultural soil using manure as fertilizer. However, systematic quantitative studies linking antibiotic concentrations and antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) in manure and the environment are scarce but needed to assess environmental risks. In this microcosm study, a sandy and a loamy soil were mixed with manure spiked with streptomycin or doxycycline at five concentrations. Total-community DNA was extracted on days 28 and 92, and the abundances of ARGs (aadA, strA, tet(A), tet(M), tet(W), tet(Q), sul1, qacE/qacEΔ1) and class 1 and 2 integron integrase genes (intI1 and intI2) were determined by qPCR relative to 16S rRNA genes. Effects on the bacterial community composition were evaluated by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of 16S rRNA gene amplicons. Manure application to the soils strongly increased the relative abundance of most tested genes. Antibiotics caused further enrichments which decreased over time and were mostly seen at high concentrations. Strikingly, the effects on relative gene abundances and soil bacterial community composition were more pronounced in sandy soil. The concept of defining antibiotic threshold concentrations for environmental risk assessments remains challenging due to the various influencing factors.

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