Challenging the concept of bacteria subsisting on antibiotics

Walsh, Fiona and Amyes, Sebastian G.B. and Duffy, Brian (2013) Challenging the concept of bacteria subsisting on antibiotics. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, 41. pp. 558-563. ISSN 0924-8579

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Antibiotic resistance concerns have been compounded by a report that soil bacteria can catabolise antibiotics, i.e. break down and use them as a sole carbon source. To date this has not been verified or reproduced, therefore in this study soil bacteria were screened to verify and reproduce this hypothesis. Survival in high concentrations of antibiotics was initially observed; however, on further analysis these bacteria either did not degrade the antibiotics or they used an intrinsic resistance mechanism (β- lactamases) to degrade the β-lactams, as demonstrated by high-performance liquid chromatography. These results did not verify or reproduce the hypothesis that bacteria subsist on antibiotics or catabolise antibiotics as previously reported. This study identified that bacteria with a catabolising phenotype did not degrade streptomycin or trimethoprim and therefore could not utilise the antibiotics as a nutrient source. Therefore, we conclude that soil bacteria do not catabolise antibiotics.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The definitive published version of this article is available at DOI: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2013.01.021
Keywords: Catabolism; Antibiotic; Subsistence; β-Lactam; Streptomycin; Trimethoprim;
Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Biology
Item ID: 6950
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2013.01.021
Depositing User: Fiona Walsh
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2016 11:02
Journal or Publication Title: International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents
Publisher: Elsevier
Refereed: Yes
Funders: Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, Swiss Expert Committee for Biosafety (SECB)

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