Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Environ Health Res. 2002 Jun;12(2):133-44.

Antibiotic resistance in soil and water environments.

Author information

Biology Department, College of Liberal Arts, Florida Atlantic University, 2912 College Avenue, Davie FL 33314, USA.


Seven locations were screened for antibiotic-resistant bacteria using a modified agar dilution technique. Isolates resistant to high levels of antibiotics were screened for r plasmids. Low-level resistance (25 micro g x ml(-1)) was widespread for ampicillin, penicillin, tetracycline, vancomycin and streptomycin but not for kanamycin. Resistant populations dropped sharply at high antibiotic levels, suggesting that intrinsic non-emergent mechanisms were responsible for the multiple drug resistance exhibited at low doses. Dairy farm manure contained significantly (P < 0.01) more (%) resistant bacteria than the other sites. Bacteria isolated from a dairy water canal, a lake by a hospital and a residential garden (fertilized by farm manure) displayed resistance frequencies of 77, 75 and 70%, respectively. Incidence of tetracycline resistance was most prevalent at 47-89% of total bacteria. Out of 200 representative isolates analyzed, Pseudomonas, Enterococcus-like bacteria, Enterobacter and Burkholderia species constituted the dominant reservoirs of resistance at high drug levels (50-170 micro g x ml(-1)). Plasmids were detected in only 29% (58) of these bacteria with tetracycline resistance accounting for 65% of the plasmid pool. Overall, resistance trends correlated to the abundance and type of bacterial species present in the habitat. Environmental reservoirs of resistance include opportunistic pathogens and constitute some public health concern.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center