MAR 09, 2016 01:42 PM PST

Market-ready meat doesn't spread drug resistance

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Evans
This just in, antibiotic resistance doesn’t spread through meat products.

Researchers from Colorado State University wanted to know if antibiotics used in cattle select for resistant bacteria that could be transferred to humans. The fear is that nonpathogenic bacteria could pass on resistance genes to pathogenic bacteria (through horizontal, or lateral transfer), thus making infections difficult to treat.
 
Drug resistant genes were absent from market-ready meat

The group expected that antibiotics would increase resistome diversity in cattle. (The resistome consists of all the resistance genes found in a given sample.) They found that, surprisingly, resistome diversity decreased during the process of beef production.

They measured the resistome in animals when they first entered the feedlot and when they were sent to slaughter. They also measured the resistome in market-ready meat products. According to the study, “several groups of resistance genes that were detected when the cattle first arrived in the feedlot were not detected at all at the end of the feedlot period. However, some resistance genes were detected throughout the feedlot period, and these tended to be resistance genes that allow the bacteria to evade the same antibiotics that were used in the cattle”.

Importantly, no resistance genes were found in market-ready meat products, indicating that these products are efficiently sanitized before they hit the shelf. This study suggests, instead, that policy makers should focus on the spread of drug-resistant bacteria between humans and farm animals in the period leading up to slaughter.
 

Sources: EurekAlert, eLIFE
 
About the Author
  • Kerry received a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
You May Also Like
OCT 20, 2019
Microbiology
OCT 20, 2019
How a Gut Microbe Prevents Obesity in Mice, and Maybe People Too
Scientists have uncovered a connection between the immune system, obesity, and gut bacteria....
OCT 20, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
OCT 20, 2019
The Rise of Drug Resistance Among Malaria Parasites
Around 220 million people get malaria every year after being bitten by a mosquito infected with the parasite that causes the disease....
OCT 20, 2019
Microbiology
OCT 20, 2019
Cataloging the Microbial Genes in the Human Microbiome
The human body carries a large community of microbes, and the ones living in our gastrointestinal tract exert a powerful influence on our biology....
OCT 20, 2019
Microbiology
OCT 20, 2019
Electric Bacteria Form Undersea Networks of Conductivity
A team of scientists has found that bacteria can act like power lines, and send electrical currents over long distances....
OCT 20, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
OCT 20, 2019
RNA Polymerases Can Signal to One Another Over Long Genomic Distances
Scientists have taken a close look at transcription in the Escherichia coli bacterium at the level of a single molecule....
OCT 20, 2019
Microbiology
OCT 20, 2019
Molecule in Human Breast Milk Can Fight Microbial Pathogens
Now a team of scientists has found a molecule in human breast milk that may reduce the risk of illness and disease....
Loading Comments...