Deep sequence analysis reveals the ovine rumen as a reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes

Thomas Hitch, Ben J. Thomas, Jessica Charlotte Abigail Friedersdorff, Helen Ougham, Christopher Creevey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (SciVal)
175 Downloads (Pure)


Antibiotic resistance is an increasingly important environmental pollutant with direct consequences for human health. Identification of environmental sources of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) makes it possible to follow their evolution and prevent their entry into the clinical setting. ARGs have been found in environmental sources exogenous to the original source and previous studies have shown that these genes are capable of being transferred from livestock to humans. Due to the nature of farming and the slaughter of ruminants for food, humans interact with these animals in close proximity, and for this reason it is important to consider the risks to human health. In this study, we characterised the ARG populations in the ovine rumen, termed the resistome. This was done using the Comprehensive Antibiotic Resistance Database (CARD) to identify the presence of genes conferring resistance to antibiotics within the rumen. Genes were successfully mapped to those that confer resistance to a total of 30 different antibiotics. Daptomycin was identified as the most common antibiotic for which resistance is present, suggesting that ruminants may be a source of daptomycin ARGs. Colistin resistance, conferred by the gene pmrE, was also found to be present within all samples, with an average abundance of 800 counts. Due to the high abundance of some ARGs (against daptomycin) and the presence of rare ARGs (against colistin), we suggest further study and monitoring of the rumen resistome as a possible source of clinically relevant ARGs
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-575
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Early online date11 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2018


  • resistome
  • antibiotic resistance gene
  • metagenome
  • ovine
  • rumen


Dive into the research topics of 'Deep sequence analysis reveals the ovine rumen as a reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this