Antibiotic resistance gene distribution in agricultural fields and crops: A soil-to-food analysis

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung


  • Francisco Cerqueira - , Instituto de Diagnostico Ambiental y Estudios del Agua (IDAEA-CSIC) (Autor:in)
  • Víctor Matamoros - , Instituto de Diagnostico Ambiental y Estudios del Agua (IDAEA-CSIC) (Autor:in)
  • Josep M. Bayona - , Instituto de Diagnostico Ambiental y Estudios del Agua (IDAEA-CSIC) (Autor:in)
  • Thomas U. Berendonk - , Professur für Limnologie (Gewässerökologie) (Autor:in)
  • Goffe Elsinga - , KWR Watercycle Research Institute (Autor:in)
  • Luc M. Hornstra - , KWR Watercycle Research Institute (Autor:in)
  • Benjamin Piña - , Instituto de Diagnostico Ambiental y Estudios del Agua (IDAEA-CSIC) (Autor:in)


Despite the social concern about the generalization of antibiotic resistance hotspots worldwide, very little is known about the contribution of different potential sources to the global risk. Here we present a quantitative analysis of the distribution of Antibiotic Resistance Genes (ARGs) in soil, rhizospheric soil, roots, leaves and beans in tomato, lettuce and broad beans crops (165 samples in total), grown in nine commercial plots distributed in four geographical zones in the vicinity of Barcelona (North East Spain). We also analyzed five soil samples from a nearby forest, with no record of agricultural activities. DNA samples were analyzed for their content in the ARGs sul1, tetM, qnrS1, blaCTX-M-32, blaOXA-58, mecA, and blaTEM, plus the integron intI1, using qPCR methods. In addition, soil microbiomes from the different plots were analyzed by amplicon-targeted 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Our data show a decreasing gradient of ARG loads from soil to fruits and beans, the latter showing only from 0.1 to 0.01% of the abundance values in soil. The type of crop was the main determinant for both ARG distribution and microbiome composition among the different plots, with minor contributions of geographic location and irrigation water source. We propose that soil amendment and/or fertilization, more than irrigation water, are the main drivers of ARG loads on the edible parts of the crop, and that they should therefore be specifically controlled.


FachzeitschriftEnvironmental research
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Okt. 2019

Externe IDs

PubMed 31377583
ORCID /0000-0002-9301-1803/work/161409769



  • Antibiotic resistance genes, Endophytes, Horizontal Gene Transfer, Irrigation water, Microbiomes, qPCR, Rhizosphere, Soil