Prairie strips’ effect on transport of antimicrobial resistance indicators in poultry litter

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Soupir, Michelle
Moorman, Thomas B.
Howe, Adina
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Agricultural and Biosystems EngineeringBioinformatics and Computational BiologyCivil, Construction and Environmental Engineering
Poultry litter is a valuable nutrient resource for agricultural production but is also a potential source for introducing antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and litter-associated bacteria (LAB) to the environment. Prairie strips have been demonstrated as an effective conservation practice to improve environmental quality in agroecosystems. This research aims to assess prairie strips’ potential for reducing the transport of LAB and ARGs in runoff after litter application. Plot-scale rainfall simulations were performed using a replicated block design, with soil and surface runoff samples taken during the rainfall event. Microbial taxa and ARGs were characterized in the litter, soil, and water samples. In plots with litter application, LAB and ARGs were mainly detected in runoff, with very low detection in soils. Detection of ARGs in runoff, irrespective of strip installations, is consistent with previous observations of litter as a source of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) risks. The effectiveness of prairie strips to remove LAB and ARGs varied. In two of the three prairie strip plots, fewer AMR indicators were detected relative to control plots, suggesting that the prairie strips can potentially reduce these risks. In one plot, which was also associated with increased flow rate, we observed increased AMR indicators despite the installation of a prairie strip. Our observations highlight the need to prioritize understanding of soil properties even within the same site. Although we show that prairie strips can potentially reduce AMR risks, further research is needed to better understand the influence of rainfall timing, soil, and litter characteristics.
This is the published version of the following article: Flater, Jared S., Laura M. Alt, Michelle Soupir, Thomas B. Moorman, and Adina Howe. Prairie Strips Impact on Transport of Antimicrobial Resistance Indicators in Poultry Litter. 2022. DOI: 10.1002/jeq2.20333. Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted.