• glycopeptide resistance;
  • vanA;
  • soil;
  • Paenibacillus


The occurrence of d-Ala : d-Lac ligase genes homologous to glycopeptide resistance vanA was studied in samples of agricultural (n=9) and garden (n=3) soil by culture-independent methods. Cloning and sequencing of nested degenerate PCR products obtained from soil DNA revealed the occurrence of d-Ala : d-Ala ligase genes unrelated to vanA. In order to enhance detection of vanA-homologous genes, a third PCR step was added using primers targeting vanA in soil Paenibacillus. Sequencing of 25 clones obtained by this method allowed recovery of 23 novel sequences having 86–100% identity with vanA in enterococci. Such sequences were recovered from all agricultural samples as well as from two garden samples with no history of organic fertilization. The results indicated that soil is a rich and assorted reservoir of genes closely related to those conferring glycopeptide resistance in clinical bacteria.