Rapid growth of antimicrobial resistance: the role of agriculture in the problem and the solutions

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2022 Nov;106(21):6953-6962. doi: 10.1007/s00253-022-12193-6. Epub 2022 Oct 5.


The control of infectious diseases has always been a top medical priority. For years during the so-called antibiotic era, we enjoyed prolonged life expectancy and the benefits of superior pathogen control. The devastating failure of the medical system, agriculture and pharmaceutical companies and the general population to appreciate and safeguard these benefits is now leading us into a grim post-antibiotic era. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) refers to microorganisms becoming resistant to antibiotics that were designed and expected to kill them. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, AMR was recognised by the World Health Organization as the central priority area with growing public awareness of the threat AMR now presents. The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, a project commissioned by the UK government, predicted that the death toll of AMR could be one person every 3 seconds, amounting to 10 million deaths per year by 2050. This review aims to raise awareness of the evergrowing extensiveness of antimicrobial resistance and identify major sources of this adversity, focusing on agriculture's role in this problem and its solutions. KEYPOINTS: • Widespread development of antibiotic resistance is a major global health risk. • Antibiotic resistance is abundant in agricultural produce, soil, food, water, air and probiotics. • New approaches are being developed to control and reduce antimicrobial resistance.

Keywords: Agriculture; Antibiotic; Hospital; Manure; Resistance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • COVID-19*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Soil
  • Water


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Soil
  • Water
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations