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Biochar can mitigate co-selection and control antibiotic resistant genes (ARGs) in compost and soil

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • C. Ejileugha
Article numbere09543
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/05/2022
Issue number5
Number of pages15
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date29/05/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Heavy metals (HMs) contamination raises the expression of antibiotic resistance (AR) in bacteria through co-selection. Biochar application in composting improves the effectiveness of composting and the quality of compost. This improvement includes the elimination and reduction of antibiotic resistant genes (ARGs). The use of biochar in contaminated soils reduces the bioaccessibility and bioavailability of the contaminants hence reducing the biological and environmental toxicity. This decrease in contaminant bioavailability reduces contaminants induced co-selection pressure. Conditions which favour reduction in HMs bioavailable fraction (BF) appear to favour reduction in ARGs in compost and soil. Biochar can prevent horizontal gene transfer (HGT) and can eliminate ARGs carried by mobile genetic elements (MGEs). This effect reduces maintenance and propagation of ARGs. Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, and Actinobacteria are the major bacteria phyla identified to be responsible for dissipation, maintenance, and propagation of ARGs. Biochar application rate at 2–10% is the best for the elimination of ARGs. This review provides insight into the usefulness of biochar in the prevention of co-selection and reduction of AR, including challenges of biochar application and future research prospects. © 2022 The Author(s)