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Antibiotic resistance in the soil ecosystem: A One Health perspective

Updated: Apr 25

Authors: Fang Wang et al., 2021

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Rapid emergence of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) is a global problem. Soil is a major reservoir of ARGs. The extensive use and/or abuse of antibiotics has increased ARGs proliferation in the soil. The dynamics and transfer of ARGs amongst microorganisms associated with plants and fauna are being investigated. Exogenous coselective agents further exacerbate the problem. Integrated approaches reducing selection pressure and disrupting ARGs transmission routes are essential in the One Health perspective, which appreciates the interconnectivity between humans, animals, and the environment. In particular, we propose that the following are needed: (1) to distinguish clinically relevant ARGs in soil and on soil-grown vegetables from those ARGs that do not confer resistance; (2) to develop a framework for assessing risks associated with the coexistence of ARGs and other contaminants; (3) to understand the extent and conditions for the emergence of ARGs with co-occurring contaminants, and their transfer processes in soil and to water, plants and fauna; and (4) to develop green technologies to mitigate the introduction of ARGs into soil and the transmission of ARGs to humans through the food chain.


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