Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pathogen Resistance To Antibiotics In Animals Could Lead To Resistant Human Pathogens

Date:
February 22, 2008
Source:
University of Arkansas, Food Safety Consortium
Summary:
It's bad enough when pathogenic bacteria work their way into the animal food supply. Here's a related problem that has recently attracted scientists' attention: some of the pathogens may become resistant to the antimicrobials that are used to fight animal disease, and that might lead to more human resistance to the benefits of antibiotics. The use of antibiotics as growth promoters appears to create large reservoirs of resistance to antibiotics in animals. That resistance could be transferred to humans who consume the food from those animals.

It’s bad enough when pathogenic bacteria work their way into the animal food supply. Here’s a related problem that has recently attracted scientists’ attention: some of the pathogens may become resistant to the antimicrobials that are used to fight animal disease, and that might lead to more human resistance to the benefits of antibiotics.

“We’re speculating that there may be a possibility of a link,” said Daniel Fung, a food science professor at Kansas State University who led research into the question for the Food Safety Consortium. “We are looking at it from the food scientist’s standpoint. The resistant cultures may get into the food supply and may get into human beings. But those are speculations only.”

The work was done by Maggie Hanfelt and Mindi Russell under the direction of Fung and KSU College of Veterinary Medicine professionals.

Fung’s research group targeted lagoons in Midwestern cattle feedlots because of concern over antimicrobial-resistant microbes being transferred into the food supply through water sources. In the feedlots, Fung explained, antimicrobials are used to treat sick food-producing animals such as cattle, poultry and swine.

Antimicrobials are also used to prevent disease and to promote growth.

The drawback, Fung said, is that the use of antibiotics as growth promoters appears to create large reservoirs of resistance to antibiotics in animals. That resistance could be transferred to humans who consume the food from those animals.

The KSU group looked at two types of feedlots: natural feedlots, which don’t use antimicrobials in the cattle, and commercial feedlots, which use the antibiotics. Tests in the feedlots’ lagoon water were conducted to measure the presence of E. coli and Enterobacter. The results consistently showed that the pathogens were more prevalent in the feedlot lagoons where the antibiotics were used.

Fung emphasized that the study is a preliminary one that raises questions. Veterinary medicine researchers are also interested in the situation and are starting to study gene pools and to track the resistant genes in the environment.

The studies of the lagoons showed that although those feedlots using antibiotics had higher rates of resistance to pathogenic bacteria, the natural feedlots still recorded instances of resistance. That’s not unexpected, Fung said.

“That may be because of the naturally resistant organisms already in the environment anyway,” Fung said. “They would have some antibiotic resistance because of the organisms around the environment.”

Because antibiotics are used in the commercial feedlots, Fung said, it is reasonable to conclude that they would have more antibiotic-resistant cultures than the natural feedlots. But natural feedlots also use antibiotics when animals become ill.

“The vet school will do a lot more on this subject,” Fung said. “If we find out something really interesting that can relate to food safety directly, then we’ll do some more work.

In any case, it’s still important to find the answers because of the implications for antibiotic resistance in humans, Fung said.

“If humans receive antimicrobial cultures in their system and if they’re sick from something, then the antibiotics will not be able to treat human beings. There are many antimicrobials in cultures in hospitals and places like that. And there aren’t too many antibiotics discovered in the past 20 years.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Arkansas, Food Safety Consortium. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Arkansas, Food Safety Consortium. "Pathogen Resistance To Antibiotics In Animals Could Lead To Resistant Human Pathogens." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080220231456.htm>.
University of Arkansas, Food Safety Consortium. (2008, February 22). Pathogen Resistance To Antibiotics In Animals Could Lead To Resistant Human Pathogens. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080220231456.htm
University of Arkansas, Food Safety Consortium. "Pathogen Resistance To Antibiotics In Animals Could Lead To Resistant Human Pathogens." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080220231456.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) Gertjie the Rhino and Lammie the Lamb are teaching the world about animal conservation and friendship. TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) has the adorable video! Video provided by Buzz60
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