Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 10, pp 9283–9292 | Cite as

The influence of heavy metals, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, and polychlorinated biphenyls pollution on the development of antibiotic resistance in soils

  • Andrey Vladimirovich Gorovtsov
  • Ivan Sergeevich Sazykin
  • Marina Alexandrovna Sazykina
Review Article


The minireview is devoted to the analysis of the influence of soil pollution with heavy metals, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on the distribution of antibiotics resistance genes (ARGs) in soil microbiomes. It is shown that the best understanding of ARGs distribution process requires studying the influence of pollutants on this process in natural microbiocenoses. Heavy metals promote co-selection of genes determining resistance to them together with ARGs in the same mobile elements of a bacterial genome, but the majority of studies focus on agricultural soils enriched with ARGs originating from manure. Studying nonagricultural soils would clear mechanisms of ARGs transfer in natural and anthropogenically transformed environments and highlight the role of antibiotic-producing bacteria. PAHs make a considerable shift in soil microbiomes leading to an increase in the number of Actinobacteria which are the source of antibiotics formation and bear multiple ARGs. The soils polluted with PAHs can be a selective medium for bacteria resistant to antibiotics, and the level of ARGs expression is much higher. PCBs are accumulated in soils and significantly alter the specific structure of soil microbiocenoses. In such soils, representatives of the genera Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas, and Alcanivorax dominate, and the ability to degrade PCBs is connected to horizontal gene transfer (HGT) and high level of genomic plasticity. The attention is also focused on the need to study the properties of the soil having an impact on the bioavailability of pollutants and, as a result, on resistome of soil microorganisms.


Antibiotic resistance Heavy metals Polyaromatic hydrocarbons Polychlorinated biphenyls Soil resistome 



This study was funded by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation (grant № 6.2379.2017/PCh), Russian Foundation for Basic Research (grant № 17-04-00787 A), President of Russian Federation (grant № NSh-3464.2018.11).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrey Vladimirovich Gorovtsov
    • 1
  • Ivan Sergeevich Sazykin
    • 1
  • Marina Alexandrovna Sazykina
    • 1
  1. 1.Southern Federal UniversityRostov-on-DonRussia

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