New antibiotic resistance genes found in cow manure

The bacteria in the guts of dairy cows have a larger collection of antibiotic resistance genes, which can be transfered to soil through manure, a new study suggests.

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Dairy cow waste harbors more antibiotic resistance genes from the animals’ gut bacteria than scientists expected.

Because manure is used as a farm soil fertilizer, the waste may be a potential source of new types of antibiotic resistance genes that transfer to bacteria in the ground where food is grown, scientists report April 22 in mBio. The results also provide information about how antibiotic resistance could move from agricultural ecosystems to other communities of organisms, the scientists say. 

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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