New paper published DNA sequencing reveals long-term impacts of copper that may be linked to increased antibiotic resistance in soil – University of Copenhagen

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12 November 2013

New paper published DNA sequencing reveals long-term impacts of copper that may be linked to increased antibiotic resistance in soil

The toxic metal copper is accumulating in many soils world-wide. Previous CREAM research has revealed that this accumulation of copper can be linked to a spread of antibiotic resistance in soil (read more). This calls for more detailed studies of microbial community responses to copper. Experiments performed in collaboration between two CREAM research groups at University of Copenhagen and published in the October issue of Applied & Environmental Microbiology demonstrate drastic effects of long-term Cu exposure on the bacterial species composition in soil. Based on analysis of approximately 400000 specific gene sequences from 16 soils, the researchers were able to identify several groups of bacteria that are sensitive to copper pollution. This work lays the foundation for on-going research on the mechanisms for increased antibiotic resistance in metal-contaminated soils.

Figure legend: Picture from the most contaminated part of the studied 85 years old soil Cu gradient

Link to full paper:

Berg, J., K.K. Brandt, W.A. Al-Soud, P.E. Holm, L.H. Hansen, S.J. Sørensen and O. Nybroe. 2012. Selection for Cu-tolerant bacterial communities with altered composition, but unaltered richness, via long-term Cu exposure. Appl. Envion. Microbiol 78: 7438-7446.