It has been well documented that antibiotic resistance (AR) is a clinical concern that affects both human and animal health but AR in the environment and food-chain is not as well understood. AR bacteria can occur naturally in soil, water and organic fertilizers used in agriculture so there is a risk that AR can pass to humans via the food-chain. This study focuses on lettuce cultivation undergoing four treatments (Normal irrigation water+normal soil, normal irrigation water+manure, UV irrigation water+normal soil, UV irrigation water+manure)to determine the mechanisms by which the AR is transferred to the plants over the growth period of the lettuce (7 time-points – week 0 to week 6). Plasmids (n=318) have been isolated from irrigation water (n=36), soil (n=45) and lettuce (n=42) samples using the exogenous isolation method for week 0 and week 6 initially. Antibiotic susceptibility testingto amikacin, cefotaxime, ciprofloxacin, imipenem, kanamycin, tetracycline has been carried out. Multi-drug resistance profiles were established for soil taken at timepoint 0 and lettuce taken at timepoint 6. Extracted plasmid DNA was sent for metagenomic analysis to determine which genes are involved in the transfer of AR at the interfaces. The results of the sequencing showed that there are multiple AR genespresent, including Tet, Sme, Cmy, Oxa and ANT(4’)-Ib, that confer resistance to bacteria. The identification of multi-drug resistance in soil and lettuce samples is concerning and highlights the need to determine the mechanisms leading to antibiotic resistance in food.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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