• Microbial community composition and antimicrobial resistance in agricultural soils fertilized with livestock manure from conventional farming in Northern Italy.

      Laconi, Andrea; Mughini-Gras, Lapo; Tolosi, Roberta; Grilli, Guido; Trocino, Angela; Carraro, Lisa; Di Cesare, Federica; Cagnardi, Petra; Piccirillo, Alessandra (2020-11-06)
      Antimicrobials are commonly used in conventional livestock production and manure is widely applied to agricultural lands as fertilizer. This practice raises questions regarding the effects of fertilization on (i) soil microbiota composition and (ii) spread of antimicrobials and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the environment. This study was conducted in a high-density farming area of Northern Italy and aimed at assessing the impact of (dairy cattle, chickens and swine) manure application on soil microbiome, antimicrobial concentrations and antimicrobial resistance gene (ARG) abundance. We found the microbial community composition in manure to be different and less diverse than in soil, with manure application altering only marginally the soil microbiome. Exceptions were the phyla Firmicutes, Tenericutes and Cloacimonetes, which significantly enriched in fertilized soil. Of the antimicrobials investigated, only flumequine concentrations increased after manure application, albeit non-significantly. ARGs were more abundant in manure, with ermA, ermB, blaOXA-1 and oqxA being significantly enriched in fertilized soil. Positive correlations between oqxA and qnrS abundances and flumequine concentrations were observed, together with the co-occurrence of some ARGs and microbial taxa (e.g. oqxA correlated with Acidobacteria and Gemmatimonadetes). This study showed that manure application has little effect on soil microbiome but may contribute to the dissemination of specific ARGs into the environment. Moreover, flumequine residues seem to enhance the emergence of oqxA and qnrS in soil.