Thursday April 25, 2019

Even Low Levels of Antibiotics in Chicken can Cause Bacterial Resistance

The findings could help explain why antibiotic resistant infections have been found in patients who undergo medicinal leech therapy

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chicken
They found that low levels of antibiotics in the animal's environment improved the survival of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in its gut. Pixabay

Even negligible levels of antibiotics in chicken blood can cause bacterial resistance and sicken people with hard-to-treat infections, suggests new research based on a study of antibiotic resistance in leech’s gut.

Microbiologists have long known that the overuse of antibiotics in people and animals leads to antibiotic resistance or the proliferation of germs that do not respond to usual treatments.

Antibiotic resistance can develop in the environment, too, as hospitals and pharmaceutical companies create favorable conditions for resistance by discharging large quantities of medications.

But what concentration of antibiotic exposures boost the growth of resistant microbes in the wild? The new study, published in the journal mBio, suggests the threshold is low.

The researchers found resistant bacteria thriving in leeches exposed to less than four-hundredths of a milligram, per millilitre, of ciprofloxacin, an important antibiotic, in the environment.

Chicken
Microbiologists have long known that the overuse of antibiotics in people and animals leads to antibiotic resistance or the proliferation of germs that do not respond to usual treatments. Pixabay

That level represents less than one per cent of the “clinical resistance breakpoint,” or concentration in the gut that selects for resistance.

For the study, the international team of researchers took a deep dive into the microbiome of blood-sucking medicinal leeches.

They found that low levels of antibiotics in the animal’s environment improved the survival of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in its gut.

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Those resistant bacteria, in turn, displaced healthy bacteria.

The findings could help explain why antibiotic resistant infections have been found in patients who undergo medicinal leech therapy.

In addition, “it suggests that contamination with very low levels of antibiotics in other environments can lead to the increase in resistant bacteria,” said microbiologist Joerg Graf at the University of Connecticut in the US who led the study. (IANS)

Next Story

Fish Mucus Offers Potential New Antibiotics

It would be interesting to figure out if anything in the mucus, which protects the fish, could actually help protect humans

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Around 334 million people worldwide suffer from asthma, and about a quarter of a million people die from it every year. Pixabay

With current antibiotics dwindling in effectiveness against multidrug-resistant pathogens, researchers have identified an untapped antibiotic candidate in the protective mucus that coats young fish.

The mucus contains bacteria with promising antibiotic activity against known pathogens-even dangerous organisms, such as the microbe that causes MRSA infections.

This viscous substance protects fish from bacteria, fungi, and viruses in their environment, trapping the microbes before they can cause infections. The slime is also rich in polysaccharides and peptides known to have antibacterial activity.

“Fish mucus is really interesting because the environment the fish live in is complex,” said Molly Austin, an undergraduate chemistry student at the Oregon State University.

“They are in contact with their environment all the time with many pathogenic viruses.”

The researchers will be presented at the American Chemical Society (ACS) Spring 2019 National Meeting and Exposition.

For the study, the mucus was swabbed from juvenile deep-sea and surface-dwelling fish caught off the Southern California coast. The team examined young fish because they have a less-developed immune system and more mucus on the outside of their scales that could contain a greater concentration of active bacteria than adult fish.

Fish are seen in a fish market near the canal of Port Said, Egypt, March 18, 2018.
Fish are seen in a fish market near the canal of Port Said, Egypt, March 18, 2018. VOA

They isolated and screened 47 different strains of bacteria from the slime.

Five bacterial extracts strongly inhibited methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), and three inhibited Candida albicans, a fungus pathogenic to humans.

A bacteria from mucus derived from a particular Pacific pink perch showed strong activity against MRSA and against a colon carcinoma cell line.

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The study could also help reduce the use of antibiotics in fish farming by leading to better antibiotics specifically targeted to the microbes clinging to certain types of fish.

While novel chemical reagents have been found in the human microbiome, the marine equivalent remains relatively unstudied.

It would be interesting to figure out if anything in the mucus, which protects the fish, could actually help protect humans. (IANS)