Global profiling of antibiotic resistomes in maize rhizospheres

Dung Ngoc Pham, Qiong Wu, Mengyan Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The spreading of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in crops and food products represents a global concern. In this study, we conducted a survey of resistomes in maize rhizosphere from Michigan, California, the Netherlands, and South Africa, and investigated potential associations with host bacteria and soil management practices in the crop field. For comparison, relative abundance of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) is normalized to the size of individual metagenomes. Michigan maize rhizosphere metagenomes showed the highest abundance and diversity of ARGs, with the detection of blaTEM-116, blaACT-4/-6, and FosA2, exhibiting high similarity (≥ 99.0%) to those in animal and human pathogens. This was probably related to the decade-long application of manure/composted manure from antibiotic-treated animals. Moreover, RbpA, vanRO, mtrA, and dfrB were prevalently found across most studied regions, implying their intrinsic origins. Further analysis revealed that RbpA, vanRO, and mtrA are mainly harbored by native Actinobacteria with low mobility since mobile genetic elements were rarely found in their flanking regions. Notably, a group of dfrB genes are adjacent to the recombination binding sites (attC), which together constitute mobile gene cassettes, promoting the transmission from soil bacteria to human pathogens. These results suggest that maize rhizosphere resistomes can be distinctive and affected by many factors, particularly those relevant to agricultural practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number89
JournalArchives of Microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Maize rhizosphere
  • Manure
  • Metagenomes
  • Mobile genetic elements


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