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Antibiotic-resistant bacteria in pig manure: Highlights the importance to control the use of antibiotic

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria in pig manure: Highlights the importance to control the use of antibiotic

In an article entitled, “Diverse and abundant antibiotic resistance genes in Chinese swine farms,” published on February 11, 2013, issue of PNAS (doi:10.1073/pnas.1222743110), the lead author Yong-Guan Zhu with seven other associates affiliated to five research groups have concluded that unmonitored antibiotic use on animal farms could prompt the vast emergence and release diverse antibiotic resistance genes into the environment. The researchers detected various types and concentrations of 149 unique antibiotic resistance genes (some expressed at levels ranging from 192 to 28,000 times higher than control samples) in animal manure, compost, and soil from three large-scale commercial swine farms in China. The authors reported that manure from each farm contained genes capable of conferring resistance to all major classes of antibiotics. Moreover, resistance genes tend to group together and can be transferred between bacteria in clusters. As a result, resistance to a drug can appear even in an area where the drug has not been used. For instance, resistance to particular drug classes (aminoglycosides in one case and amphenicols in another) appeared around farms where those drug classes had not been used. Additionally, manure, compost, or soil containing antibiotic-resistant bacteria could thwart the efficacy of human antibiotic therapies if it runs off into rivers, leaches into groundwater or if composted manure is distributed as organic fertilizer. So, better management of agricultural antibiotic use and improved methods for handling animal waste to reduce the concentration of resistance genes may help restrain the emergence of antibiotic resistance. [Summarized by  a  DU Plant Biotech Lab graduate student Samsad Razzaque.]

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