Research Topic

Natural microbial communities and their response to antibiotic occurrence in ecosystems

About this Research Topic

Environmental antibiotic and antibiotic resistance gene contamination is increasing due to human and animal use of these compounds. Various anthropogenic sources, such as wastewater treatment plant effluents and biosolids, reclaimed water, animal manures, and farm runoff, are responsible for the diffusion of antibiotic residues, resistant bacteria and genes in soil and water ecosystems. An ecological and multidisciplinary ‘One Health’ approach including humans, animals and their specific environments is necessary for understanding antibiotic overall impacts and assessing effective mitigation measures.

Several ecological aspects regarding the effects of antibiotics and homeostatic response of natural microbial communities need to be clarified. Microorganisms interact in both intra- and inter-species relationships, modulated by site-specific environmental conditions (e.g. temperature, humidity, multi-contamination), which make each ecosystem a unique one. Consequently, the effects of antibiotics (including at minimum selective concentrations and at minimum inhibitory concentrations) on natural microbial communities can be different and strongly linked to the bacterial resistance and resilience responses.

Environmental microorganisms not only play a key role in fundamental ecological processes such as biogeochemical cycling and organic contaminant degradation, but also in antibiotic removal and antibiotic resistance spread. Antibiotics can persist in soil or water depending on their inherent physic-chemical properties (e.g. water solubility, lipophilicity), site-specific environmental factors (e.g. temperature, light, pH) and the presence and activity of microorganisms able to biodegrade them. Antibiotic occurrence in the environment can compromise or change microbial community structure and activities in different ways. Microorganisms interact in both intra- and inter-specific relationships, modulated by site-specific environmental conditions (e.g. temperature, humidity, multi-contamination), which make each ecosystem a unique one. Consequently, the effects of antibiotics on ecosystems can be variously and strongly linked to the bacterial resistance and resilience responses to their occurrence. This Special Issue addresses a wide range of microbial ecology aspects of antibiotic occurrence, persistence, effects and resistance spread in natural microbial communities, including the plant microbiome.

This Research Topic will collect studies on the effects of antibiotics on natural microbial communities and all the biotic and abiotic factors which influence antibiotic persistence and bacterial resistance.

The following article types are particularly welcomed: Original Research, Reviews, and Opinions. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:
(i) Resistance, resilience, and ecosystem functioning of soil and water microbial communities in response to antibiotics
(ii) Antibiotics and resistance genes spread in natural and agro-ecosystems, including organic fertilizers, reclaimed water and plant-microbe interactions.
(iii) Bioremediation of antibiotic residues and b


Keywords: Soil and water microbial communities; Antibiotic resistance genes; Plant microbiome; Co-selective factors


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Environmental antibiotic and antibiotic resistance gene contamination is increasing due to human and animal use of these compounds. Various anthropogenic sources, such as wastewater treatment plant effluents and biosolids, reclaimed water, animal manures, and farm runoff, are responsible for the diffusion of antibiotic residues, resistant bacteria and genes in soil and water ecosystems. An ecological and multidisciplinary ‘One Health’ approach including humans, animals and their specific environments is necessary for understanding antibiotic overall impacts and assessing effective mitigation measures.

Several ecological aspects regarding the effects of antibiotics and homeostatic response of natural microbial communities need to be clarified. Microorganisms interact in both intra- and inter-species relationships, modulated by site-specific environmental conditions (e.g. temperature, humidity, multi-contamination), which make each ecosystem a unique one. Consequently, the effects of antibiotics (including at minimum selective concentrations and at minimum inhibitory concentrations) on natural microbial communities can be different and strongly linked to the bacterial resistance and resilience responses.

Environmental microorganisms not only play a key role in fundamental ecological processes such as biogeochemical cycling and organic contaminant degradation, but also in antibiotic removal and antibiotic resistance spread. Antibiotics can persist in soil or water depending on their inherent physic-chemical properties (e.g. water solubility, lipophilicity), site-specific environmental factors (e.g. temperature, light, pH) and the presence and activity of microorganisms able to biodegrade them. Antibiotic occurrence in the environment can compromise or change microbial community structure and activities in different ways. Microorganisms interact in both intra- and inter-specific relationships, modulated by site-specific environmental conditions (e.g. temperature, humidity, multi-contamination), which make each ecosystem a unique one. Consequently, the effects of antibiotics on ecosystems can be variously and strongly linked to the bacterial resistance and resilience responses to their occurrence. This Special Issue addresses a wide range of microbial ecology aspects of antibiotic occurrence, persistence, effects and resistance spread in natural microbial communities, including the plant microbiome.

This Research Topic will collect studies on the effects of antibiotics on natural microbial communities and all the biotic and abiotic factors which influence antibiotic persistence and bacterial resistance.

The following article types are particularly welcomed: Original Research, Reviews, and Opinions. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:
(i) Resistance, resilience, and ecosystem functioning of soil and water microbial communities in response to antibiotics
(ii) Antibiotics and resistance genes spread in natural and agro-ecosystems, including organic fertilizers, reclaimed water and plant-microbe interactions.
(iii) Bioremediation of antibiotic residues and b


Keywords: Soil and water microbial communities; Antibiotic resistance genes; Plant microbiome; Co-selective factors


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 October 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 October 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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