Effects of Dairy Manure-Based Amendments and Soil Texture on Lettuce-and Radish-Associated Microbiota and Resistomes

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American Society for Microbiology


Dairy cattle are routinely treated with antibiotics, and the resulting manure or composted manure is commonly used as a soil amendment for crop production, raising questions regarding the potential for antibiotic resistance to propagate from “farm to fork.” The objective of this study was to compare the microbiota and “resistomes” (i.e., carriage of antibiotic resistance genes [ARGs]) associated with lettuce leaf and radish taproot surfaces grown in different soils amended with dairy manure, compost, or chemical fertilizer only (control). Manure was collected from antibiotic-free dairy cattle (DC) or antibiotic-treated dairy cattle (DA), with a portion composted for parallel comparison. Amendments were applied to loamy sand or silty clay loam, and lettuce and radishes were cultivated to maturity in a greenhouse. Metagenomes were profiled via shotgun Illumina sequencing. Radishes carried a distinct ARG composition compared to that of lettuce, with greater relative abundance of total ARGs. Taxonomic species richness was also greater for radishes by 1.5-fold. The resistomes of lettuce grown with DC compost were distinct from those grown with DA compost, DC manure, or fertilizer only. Further, compost applied to loamy sand resulted in twofold-greater relative abundance of total ARGs on lettuce than when applied to silty clay loam. The resistomes of radishes grown with biological amendments were distinct from the corresponding fertilizer controls, but effects of composting or antibiotic use were not measureable. Cultivation in loamy sand resulted in higher species richness for both lettuce and radishes than when grown in silty clay loam by 2.2-fold and 1.2-fold, respectively, when amended with compost.



agriculture, antibiotic resistance, compost, manure, resistome, soil, vegetable microbiome


Guron GKP, Arango-Argoty G, Zhang L, Pruden A, Ponder MA. 2019. Effects of dairy manure-based amendments and soil texture on lettuce- and radish-associated microbiota and resistomes. mSphere 4:e00239-19. https:// doi.org/10.1128/mSphere.00239-19.