Glyphosate, the active compound of Roundup, is one of the most used pesticides in the world. Its residues are often detected in animal feed, but the impact on the animal gut microbiota and on pathogens of the intestine has not intensively been investigated. In this study, we analyzed the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of glyphosate isopropylamine salt and a common glyphosate-containing herbicide formulation in 225 Salmonella enterica isolates by broth microdilution. A bacteriostatic effect of glyphosate on Salmonella growth was detected at the concentration range of 10 to 80 mg/mL for both the active ingredient and the ready-to-use formulation. Time/year of isolation, host species, and serovars revealed a statistically significant influence on MIC values. Recently collected Salmonella isolates had significantly higher MIC values for glyphosate and the glyphosate-containing product compared with isolates collected between 1981 and 1990. Isolates from pigs showed significantly higher MIC values compared with isolates from poultry, and isolates of the Salmonella serovar Typhimurium had significantly higher MIC values than Salmonella Enteritidis and Infantis isolates.
Glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine) is the most-used herbicide worldwide. Many studies in the past have shown that residues of the herbicide can be found in many cultivated plants, including those used as livestock feed. Sensitivity to glyphosate varies with bacteria, particularly those residing in the intestine, where microbiota is exposed to glyphosate residues. Therefore, less susceptible pathogenic isolates could have a distinct advantage compared to more sensitive commensal isolates, probably leading to dysbiosis.
To determine whether the ruminal growth and survival of pathogenic Escherichia coli or Salmonella serovar Typhimurium are higher when glyphosate residues are present in the feed, an in vitro fermentation trial with a “Rumen Simulation System” (RUSITEC) and a glyphosate-containing commercial formulation was performed.
Colony forming units of E. coli and Salmonella ser. Typhimurium decreased steadily in all fermenters, regardless of the herbicide application. Minimum inhibitory concentrations of the studied Salmonella and E. coli strains did not change, and antibiotic susceptibility varied only slightly but independent of the glyphosate application.
Overall, application of the glyphosate-containing formulation in a worst-case concentration of 10 mg/L neither increased the abundance for the tested E. coli and Salmonella strain in the in vitro fermentation system, nor promoted resistance to glyphosate or antibiotics.