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Increased levels of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the environment may have different causes. It could be a consequence of on-site selection from antibiotic residues in the environment, hence promoting the evolution of new forms of resistance. Alternatively, it is simply due contamination by fecal bacteria that often tend to be more resistant than other bacteria. Understanding which explanation is correct is fundamental to manage risks.
A study published in Nature Communications shows that crAssphage, a virus specific to bacteria in human ****, is highly correlated to the abundance of antibiotic resistance genes in environmental samples. This indicates that fecal pollution can largely explain the increase in resistant bacteria often found in human-impacted environments. There was, however, one clear exception where resistance genes were very common also without the presence of the phage—environments polluted with high levels of antibiotics from manufacturing.
Joakim - Larsson - Professor - Environmental - Pharmacology
Joakim Larsson, Professor in Environmental Pharmacology at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, and one of the co-authors, says, "These finding are important as they can inform management of human health...
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