- Project No 4954
- Project Name Viable microbial dynamics and horizontal gene transfer of antibiotic resistant genes in agricultural soils amended with biosolids fertilizers
- Lead Organisation Water Research Australia
- Research Lead RMIT University
This project aims to understand microbial community dynamics and spatial distribution of antibiotic resistance genes in agricultural soil amended with biosolid/compost fertilizer. One key missing perspective in assessing microbial communities and antibiotic resistance genes is the ability to differentiate live from dead microorganisms. DNA from dead microbes is extracellularly located, in contrast to intracellular live DNA. The DNA from dead cells has been shown to significantly distort results from PCR-based microbial community analysis, potentially also distort the detection of ARGs as well. By applying viable PCR, increased insights into microbial community dynamics and the presence of antibiotic resistance genes could be achieved. The research will lead to an improved understanding of the risk that antibiotic resistance genes pose especially in the land application of biosolids.