Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Use Dirt To Stay One Step Ahead Of Antibiotic Resistance

Date:
January 24, 2006
Source:
McMaster University
Summary:
Dirt may be a key to how bacteria that infect humans develop a resistance to antibiotic drugs. In an article in the January 20 issue of the journal Science, McMaster University researchers say that study of bacteria found in dirt may be the key in identifying how and why antibiotic resistance happens in bacteria that infect people, predicting future clinical problems, and testing new antibiotics.

Sporulating soil isolates. Top Left: Soil Isolate PP#15, inactivates daptomycin Top Right: Soil Isolate Cu#22 Bottom Left: Soil Isolate WMB#19 Bottom Right: Trimethoprim Resistant Soil Isolates.
Credit: Image courtesy of McMaster University

Dirt may be a key to how bacteria that infect humans develop a resistance to antibiotic drugs.

Related Articles


In an article in the January 20 issue of the journal Science, McMaster University researchers say that study of bacteria found in dirt may be the key in identifying how and why antibiotic resistance happens in bacteria that infect people, predicting future clinical problems, and testing new antibiotics.

Antibiotic resistance has become an increasing public health concern because the organisms that cause infections in humans and animals are becoming less receptive to the healing aspect of antibiotic drugs.

The team led by professor Gerry Wright, chair of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, found that the numerous ways soil-dwelling bacteria become resistant to antibiotics are identical to the resistance patterns seen in patients.

These soil-dwelling bacteria also play a central role in the treatment of infectious diseases. Approximately two-thirds of all known antibiotics are produced by bacteria called actinomycetes, commonly found in soils, compost, and other environmental sources.

"By evolving in an environment of antibiotic production, incredibly resilient bacteria must develop diverse ways to survive or resist the toxic antimicrobial compounds produced by their neighbors," said Wright. "Their coping tactics may be able to give us a glimpse into the future of clinical resistance to antibiotics."

"This research suggests that not only can the study of resistance in the soil help predict future clinical emergence, but it can also guide the development of therapies to counteract this resistance."

Researchers screened 480 strains of soil bacteria isolated from diverse locations for resistance to 21 clinically relevant antibiotics. At high drug concentrations, the soil-dwelling bacteria displayed a stunning level of resistance. Not only were the bacteria resistant to an average of seven to eight antibiotics, but every strain was found to be multi-drug resistant.

The bacteria showed resistance to all major classes of antibiotics, regardless of whether the compounds were naturally produced, semi-synthetic, or completely synthetic.

Researchers also found that the way bacteria was resistant to vancomycin, one of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics for drug resistant staphylococcal infections, was identical to resistance found in clinics.

Furthermore, the researchers' uncovered bacteria that produced enzymes capable of breaking down or modifying or rendering inactive two recently U.S. FDA-approved antibiotics, a situation which has yet to emerge clinically for these drugs.

"The link between clinical and soil-associated resistance to vancomycin illustrates the value of studying resistance in the soil to rationally anticipate future clinical resistance," said Wright. "It suggests that the soil serves as an under-recognized source of resistance, resistance that has the potential to reach clinics.

"This work could prove to be extremely valuable to the drug development process, complementing traditional laboratory studies of clinical situations. By screening newly developed drugs for resistance in soil bacteria, not only can pharmaceutical companies can gain a better understanding of what may emerge in the future as clinical problems, but sufficient warning can be given to hospital microbiology laboratories, physicians and the drug discovery sector to allow for the development of diagnostic techniques and alternative therapies.

"Furthermore, studying enzymes that inactivate antibiotics can serve as a foundation for the development of new combination therapies for resistant bacterial strains. Studying antibiotic resistance from an evolutionary perspective is one way that researchers are attempting to stay one step ahead of resistant bacteria."

Antibiotic resistant bacteria have become a major health threat and have limited our ability to treat even common infections with antibiotics," said Dr. Bhagirath Singh, Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Infection and Immunity. "Dr. Wright's exciting discovery points to the fact that in nature, bugs in the soil survive in a very hostile environment. They do this by developing resistance to the antibiotics produced by other soil bacteria. Understanding this process opens up a new avenue for finding new therapies to prevent and treat antibiotic resistance in a clinical setting.

###

This research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and by a Canadian Research Chair.



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McMaster University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

McMaster University. "Researchers Use Dirt To Stay One Step Ahead Of Antibiotic Resistance." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 January 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060119232956.htm>.
McMaster University. (2006, January 24). Researchers Use Dirt To Stay One Step Ahead Of Antibiotic Resistance. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060119232956.htm
McMaster University. "Researchers Use Dirt To Stay One Step Ahead Of Antibiotic Resistance." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060119232956.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins