Association between selected antimicrobial resistance genes and antimicrobial exposure in Danish pig farms

Anna Camilla Birkegård, Tariq Hisham Beshara Halasa, Kaare Græsbøll, Julie Clasen, Anders Folkesson, Nils Toft

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    Bacterial antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in pigs is an important public health concern due to its possible transfer to humans. We aimed at quantifying the relationship between the lifetime exposure of antimicrobials and seven antimicrobial resistance genes in Danish slaughter pig farms. AMR gene levels were quantified by qPCR of total-community DNA in faecal samples obtained from 681 batches of slaughter pigs. The lifetime exposure to antimicrobials was estimated at batch level for the piglet, weaner, and finisher periods individually for the sampled batches. We showed that the effect of antimicrobial exposure on the levels of AMR genes was complex and unique for each individual gene. Several antimicrobial classes had both negative and positive correlations with the AMR genes. From 10-42% of the variation in AMR gene levels could be explained in the final regression models, indicating that antimicrobial exposure is not the only important determinant of the AMR gene levels.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number9683
    JournalScientific Reports
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • Antimicrobial resistance
    • Risk factors

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