The use of antimicrobials in agricultural, veterinary and medical practice exerts selective pressure on environmental microbiota, promoting the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), a global concern for the One Health Initiative Task Force (OHITF). Honeybees have been studied as bioindicators of AMR in the environment, but little is known about beehive products like honey and pollen. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of AMR genes (ARGs) in beehive products and investigated their origins. Specifically, possible associations between ARGs, microbiota and other characteristics of different honey and pollen samples, including country of origin, flower type, type of commercial distribution and environmental factors, such as land use, weather and composition of the environment surrounding the beehives were investigated. We found that beehive products harboured ARGs conferring resistance to β-lactams, macrolides, (fluoro)quinolones and polymyxins. Most samples possessed resistance to multiple antimicrobial classes, with honey and pollen showing similar ARG profiles. Even if Lactobacillus and Acinetobacter genera were common in the microbial communities of both honey and pollen, Bacillus, Clostridium, and Bombella defined honey microbiota, while Pseudomonas and Vibrio were enriched in pollen. ErmB and blaTEM-1 co-occurred with Lactobacillus and Fructobacillus, while positive associations between β-lactams and macrolides and anthropogenic environments (i.e. industrial and commercial areas and non-irrigated arable lands) were found. Altogether, our findings suggest that ARGs in honey and pollen might originate from the honeybee foraging environment, and that the beehive products can be used as bioindicators of the AMR environmental contamination.

Beehive products as bioindicators of antimicrobial resistance contamination in the environment

Andrea Laconi
;
Roberta Tolosi;Lisa Carraro;Barbara Cardazzo;Francesca Capolongo;Roberta Merlanti;Alessandra Piccirillo
2022

Abstract

The use of antimicrobials in agricultural, veterinary and medical practice exerts selective pressure on environmental microbiota, promoting the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), a global concern for the One Health Initiative Task Force (OHITF). Honeybees have been studied as bioindicators of AMR in the environment, but little is known about beehive products like honey and pollen. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of AMR genes (ARGs) in beehive products and investigated their origins. Specifically, possible associations between ARGs, microbiota and other characteristics of different honey and pollen samples, including country of origin, flower type, type of commercial distribution and environmental factors, such as land use, weather and composition of the environment surrounding the beehives were investigated. We found that beehive products harboured ARGs conferring resistance to β-lactams, macrolides, (fluoro)quinolones and polymyxins. Most samples possessed resistance to multiple antimicrobial classes, with honey and pollen showing similar ARG profiles. Even if Lactobacillus and Acinetobacter genera were common in the microbial communities of both honey and pollen, Bacillus, Clostridium, and Bombella defined honey microbiota, while Pseudomonas and Vibrio were enriched in pollen. ErmB and blaTEM-1 co-occurred with Lactobacillus and Fructobacillus, while positive associations between β-lactams and macrolides and anthropogenic environments (i.e. industrial and commercial areas and non-irrigated arable lands) were found. Altogether, our findings suggest that ARGs in honey and pollen might originate from the honeybee foraging environment, and that the beehive products can be used as bioindicators of the AMR environmental contamination.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3444505
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