The impact of manure and soil texture on antimicrobial resistance gene levels in farmlands and adjacent ditches

Gonçalo Macedo*, Lucia Hernandez-Leal, Peter van der Maas, Dick Heederik, Dik Mevius, Heike Schmitt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Manure application can spread antimicrobial resistance (AMR) from manure to soil and surface water. This study evaluated the role of the soil texture on the dynamics of antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) in soils and surrounding surface waters. Six dairy farms with distinct soil textures (clay, sand, and peat) were sampled at different time points after the application of manure, and three representative ARGs sul1, erm(B), and tet(W) were quantified with qPCR. Manuring initially increased levels of erm(B) by 1.5 ± 0.5 log copies/kg of soil and tet(W) by 0.8 ± 0.4 log copies/kg across soil textures, after which levels gradually declined. In surface waters from clay environments, regardless of the ARG, the gene levels initially increased by 2.6 ± 1.6 log copies/L, after which levels gradually declined. The gene decay in soils was strongly dependent on the type of ARG (erm(B) < tet(W) < sul1; half-lives of 7, 11, and 75 days, respectively), while in water, the decay was primarily dependent on the soil texture adjacent to the sampled surface water (clay < peat < sand; half-lives of 2, 6, and 10 days, respectively). Finally, recovery of ARG levels was predicted after 29–42 days. The results thus showed that there was not a complete restoration of ARGs in soils between rounds of manure application. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that rather than showing similar dynamics of decay, factors such as the type of ARG and soil texture drive the ARG persistence in the environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number139563
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


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