Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Sci Technol. 2010 Nov 15;44(22):8724-8. doi: 10.1021/es101798r. Epub 2010 Oct 22.

Cu exposure under field conditions coselects for antibiotic resistance as determined by a novel cultivation-independent bacterial community tolerance assay.

Author information

Department of Agriculture and Ecology and Department of Basic Sciences and Environment, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg C, Denmark.


Environmental reservoirs of antibiotic resistance are important to human health, and recent evidence indicates that terrestrial resistance reservoirs have expanded during the antibiotic era. Our aim was to study the impact of Cu pollution as a selective driver for the spread of antibiotic resistance in soil. Bacteria were extracted from a well-characterized soil site solely contaminated with CuSO₄ more than 80 years ago and from a corresponding control soil. Pollution-induced bacterial community tolerance (PICT) to Cu and a panel of antibiotics was determined by a novel cultivation-independent approach based on [³H]bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation into DNA and by resistance profiling of soil bacterial isolates on solid media. High Cu exposure selected for Cu-tolerant bacterial communities but also coselected for increased community-level tolerance to tetracycline and vancomycin. Cu-resistant isolates showed significantly higher incidence of resistance to five out of seven tested antibiotics (tetracycline, olaquindox, nalidixic acid, chloramphenicol, and ampicillin) than Cu-sensitive isolates. Our BrdU-PICT data demonstrate for the first time that soil Cu exposure coselects for resistance to clinically important antibiotics (e.g., vancomycin) at the bacterial community-level. Our study further indicates that Cu exposure provides a strong selection pressure for the expansion of the soil bacterial resistome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Chemical Society
Loading ...
Support Center