Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Antibiotic Resistance in the Environment

Recently I wrote a post about excessive use of antibiotics in animal rearing and the potential for spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

One of my research students is studying the presence of antibiotic resistance genes in bacteria in stream and river muds, comparing pristine waters with polluted along a stretch of a river in the Waikato region of New Zealand.

She sampled mud from the river and isolated bacteria.  Her next step was to test the bacteria for resistance to a set of antibiotics drawn from two classes of antibiotics used in animal rearing and human therapy.

The results are surprising:  of 40 isolates, only one was sensitive to any of the antibiotics tested.  At this stage, there is no smoking gun, but it is certainly of concern to see such  antibiotic resistance in so many different bacteria in the environment.

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