Does Plant Identity Affect the Dispersal of Resistomes Above and Below Ground?

Fei Zheng, Guo-Wei Zhou, Dong Zhu, Roy Neilson, Yong-Guan Zhu, Bing Chen, Xiao-Ru Yang (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Resistomes are ubiquitous in natural environments. Previous studies have shown that both the plant phyllosphere and soil-borne nematodes were reservoirs of above- and below-ground resistomes, respectively. However, the influence of plant identity on soil, nematode, and phyllosphere resistomes remains unclear. Here, a microcosm experiment was used to explore the characteristics of bacterial communities and resistomes in soil, nematode, and phyllosphere associated with six different plant identities (Lactuca sativa, Cichorium endivia, Allium fistulosum, Coriandrum sativum, Raphanus sativus, and Mesembryanthemum crystallinum). A total of 222 antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and 7 mobile genetic elements (MGEs) were detected by high-throughput quantitative PCR from all samples. Plant identity not only significantly affected the diversity of resistomes in soil, nematode, and phyllosphere but also influenced the abundance of resistomes in nematodes. Shared bacteria and resistomes indicated a possible pathway of resistomes transfer through the soil-nematode-phyllosphere system. Structural equation models revealed that plant identity had no direct effect on phyllosphere ARGs, but altered indirectly through complex above- and below-ground interactions (soil-plant-nematode trophic transfer). Results also showed that bacteria and MGEs were key factors driving the above- and below-ground flow of resistomes. The study extends our knowledge about the top-down and bottom-up dispersal patterns of resistomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14904-14912
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number21
Early online date2 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022


  • antibiotic resistance genes
  • soil
  • nematode
  • phyllosphere
  • bacteria
  • mobile genetic elements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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