The resistomes of rural and urban pigs and poultry in Ghana

Emilie Egholm Bruun Jensen, Victoria Sedor, Emmanuel Eshun, Patrick Njage, Saria Otani, Frank M. Aarestrup*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

29 Downloads (Pure)


There is limited knowledge on the bacteriome and resistome in livestock in Africa and the potential influence of the animal husbandry practices and scale has also been scantly explored. We quantified and characterized the antimicrobial resistance gene (ARG) pools (resistomes) and bacteriome in 30 pigs and 60 poultry samples (free-range: rural and urban, and industrialized) across Ghana using Resfinder and Silva databases and compared them to similar data from pigs and poultry from nine European countries. The pig and poultry were very different in ARG and bacterial abundance and composition. The bacterial communities in the Ghanaian samples also differed substantially from the European samples, especially driven by a much higher abundance of Subdoligranulum in both animals. We found lower ARG loads in Ghanaian pigs compared to European counterparts. Among poultry, urban free-range samples exhibited lower ARG abundances compared to the lowest European levels, while rural free-range samples were comparable to the European average, and industrialized samples showed higher ARG abundances. Despite major differences in abundance, the resistome composition of Ghanaian urban, rural, and industrialized poultry samples was similar. Contrasts with European samples were mainly driven by increased abundances of different tetracycline resistance genes in Ghanaian samples, and increased abundances of ARGs encoding resistance to macrolides, beta-lactams, and trimethoprim in Europe. Among pig samples, the main differences were caused by ARGs encoding resistance to nitroimidazoles, beta-lactams, and macrolides in European samples. This study is, to the best of our knowledge, the first report on the resistome measured using metagenomics in livestock from Sub-Saharan Africa.

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the resistomes that are measured using metagenomics in livestock from Sub-Saharan Africa. We find notable differences in the microbiomes between both pigs and poultry, and those also varied markedly compared to similar samples from Europe. However, for both animal species, the same bacterial taxa drove such differences. In pigs and urban free-range poultry, we find a very low abundance of antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs), whereas rural free-range poultry displayed similarity to the European average, and industrialized poultry exhibited higher levels. These findings show how different African livestock bacterial communities and resistomes are from their European counterparts. They also underscore the importance of continued surveillance and investigation into antimicrobial resistance across diverse ecosystems, contributing significantly to global efforts toward combating the threat of antibiotic resistance.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0062923
Issue number5
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Livestock
  • Resistome
  • Bacteriome
  • Africa
  • Antimicrobial resistance genes


Dive into the research topics of 'The resistomes of rural and urban pigs and poultry in Ghana'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this