Relationship between antibiotic resistance genes and metals in residential soil samples from Western Australia

Charles W Knapp, Anna C Callan, Beatrice Aitken, Rylan Shearn, Annette Koenders, Andrea Hinwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Citations (Scopus)
80 Downloads (Pure)


Increasing drug-resistant infections have drawn research interest towards examining environmental bacteria and the discovery that many factors, including elevated metal conditions, contribute to proliferation of antibiotic resistance (AR). This study examined 90 garden soils from Western Australia to evaluate predictions of antibiotic-resistance genes from total-metal conditions by comparing the concentrations of 12 metals and 13 genes related to tetracycline, beta-lactam, and sulphonamide resistance. Relationships existed between metals and genes, but trends varied. All metals, except Se and Co, were related to at least one AR gene in terms of absolute gene numbers, but only Al, Mn and Pb were associated with a higher percentage of soil bacteria exhibiting resistance, which is a possible indicator of population selection. Correlations improved when multiple factors were considered simultaneously in a multiple linear regression model, suggesting the possibility of additive effects occurring. Soil-metal concentrations must be considered when determining risks of AR in the environment and the proliferation of resistance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2484-2494
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number3
Early online date7 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • antimicrobial resistance
  • antibiotic resistance
  • garden soil
  • toxic heavy metals
  • qPCR


Dive into the research topics of 'Relationship between antibiotic resistance genes and metals in residential soil samples from Western Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this