Deakin University
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Diverse Bacterial Resistance Genes Detected in Fecal Samples From Clinically Healthy Women and Infants in Australia—A Descriptive Pilot Study

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-09-01, 00:00 authored by V Guernier, Anthony Chamings, F Collier, Soren AlexandersenSoren Alexandersen
The gut microbiota is an immense reservoir of antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs), the so-called “resistome.” In Australia, where antibiotic use is high and resistance rates in some common pathogens are increasing, very little is known about the human resistome. To assess the presence and diversity of ARGs in the gut of Australians from south-eastern Victoria, we investigated fecal samples from clinically healthy infants and pregnant women using non-targeted (shotgun metagenomics sequencing or SMS) and targeted sequencing (two Ion AmpliseqTM panels). All methods detected ARGs in all samples, with the detection overall of 64 unique genes conferring resistance to 12 classes of antibiotics. Predominant ARGs belonged to three classes of antibiotics that are the most frequently prescribed in Australia: tetracycline, β-lactams and MLSB (macrolide, lincosamide, streptogramin B). The three bacterial Orders commonly identified as carrying ARGs were Clostridiales, Bacteroidales, and Enterobacteriales. Our preliminary results indicate that ARGs are ubiquitously present and diverse among the gut microbiota of clinically healthy humans from south-eastern Victoria, Australia. The observed resistance pattern partly overlaps with antimicrobial usage in human medicine in Australia, but ARGs to tetracycline are more common than could be expected. Our current sample is small and limited to south-eastern Victoria, and more data on healthy individuals will be needed to better depict resistance patterns at the population level, which could guide population and/or environmental monitoring and surveillance of antibiotic resistance on various spatio-temporal scales in Australia. For future studies, we recommend using the Ion AmpliseqTM Antimicrobial Resistance Research panel, which is sensitive and user-friendly, or combining several methods to increase the detected diversity



Frontiers in Microbiology



Article number



1 - 12




Lausanne, Switzerland







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal