Antibiotic resistomes discovered in the gut microbiomes of Korean swine and cattle

Suk Kyung Lim, Dongjun Kim, Dong Chan Moon, Youna Cho, Mina Rho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: Antibiotics administered to farm animals have led to increasing prevalence of resistance genes in different microbiomes and environments. While antibiotic treatments help cure infectious diseases in farm animals, the possibility of spreading antibiotic resistance genes into the environment and human microbiomes raises significant concerns. Through long-term evolution, antibiotic resistance genes have mutated, thereby complicating the resistance problems. RESULTS: In this study, we performed deep sequencing of the gut microbiomes of 36 swine and 41 cattle in Korean farms, and metagenomic analysis to understand the diversity and prevalence of antibiotic resistance genes. We found that aminoglycoside, β-lactam, lincosamide, streptogramin, and tetracycline were the prevalent resistance determinants in both swine and cattle. Tetracycline resistance was abundant and prevalent in cattle and swine. Specifically, tetQ, tetW, tetO, tet32, and tet44 were the 5 most abundant and prevalent tetracycline resistance genes. Their prevalence was almost 100% in swine and cattle. While tetQ was similarly abundant in both swine and cattle, tetW was more abundant in swine than in cattle. Aminoglycoside was the second highest abundant resistance determinant in swine, but not in cattle. In particular, ANT(6) and APH(3'') were the dominant resistance gene families in swine. β-lactam was also an abundant resistance determinant in both swine and cattle. Cfx was the major contributing gene family conferring resistance against β-lactams. CONCLUSIONS: Antibiotic resistome was more pervasive in swine than in cattle. Specifically, prevalent antibiotic resistance genes (prevalence >50%) were found more in swine than in cattle. Genomic investigation of specific resistance genes from the gut microbiomes of swine and cattle in this study should provide opportunities to better understand the exchange of antibiotic resistance genes in farm animals.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2020 May 1


  • antibiotic resistance gene
  • antibiotic resistome
  • cattle gut microbiomes
  • swine gut microbiomes

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