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Chloramphenicol-resistance genes could be propagated to the surrounding environment via agricultural application of swine waste. This study investigated the potential risks of chloramphenicol-resistance genes from swine feedlots and their surrounding environment. We applied a culture-independent method to investigate levels of chloramphenicol-resistance genes in the wastewater from swine feedlots and the correspondingly impacted agricultural fields in Beijing. The cmlA, floR, fexA, cfr, and fexB genes were present in all samples, with the highest absolute concentrations of 1.50 × 10(6) copies/g in soil and 6.69 × 10(6) copies/mL in wastewater. The concentration of chloramphenicol residue was determined by ultra performance liquid chromatography-electrospray tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS), with the highest concentrations of 0.83 ng/g in soil and 11.5 ng/mL in wastewater. Significant correlations were found between chloramphenicol-resistance genes and chloramphenicol residues (r = 0.79, p = 0.0008) as well as between chloramphenicol-resistance genes in swine feedlots and corresponding agricultural soils (r = 0.84, p = 0.02). Consequently, swine feedlot wastewater could become a source of chloramphenicol-resistance genes, which could then lead to the spread of antibiotic resistance and eventually pose a risk to public health. To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the occurrence of floR, fexA, cfr, and fexB genes in the environment using a culture-independent method.


Juan Li, Bing Shao, Jianzhong Shen, Shaochen Wang, Yongning Wu. Occurrence of chloramphenicol-resistance genes as environmental pollutants from swine feedlots. Environmental science & technology. 2013 Mar 19;47(6):2892-7

PMID: 23419160

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