MAR 09, 2016 1:42 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
MAY 21, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Fidget Spinner Diagnoses Infections
MAY 21, 2020
Fidget Spinner Diagnoses Infections
The fidget spinner toy craze took the world by storm — a small, boomerang-shaped gadget that rotates hypnotically ...
JUN 22, 2020
Microbiology
A Human Gut Microbe Can Help Maintain Healthy Cholesterol Levels
JUN 22, 2020
A Human Gut Microbe Can Help Maintain Healthy Cholesterol Levels
The world is full of microorganisms, and our bodies are one of the many places they have colonized. These gut microbes c ...
JUN 25, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
Peptide Made by Marine Worms Can Destroy Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria
JUN 25, 2020
Peptide Made by Marine Worms Can Destroy Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria
Drug-resistant bacteria pose a serious threat to public health, and scientists have been searching for new antibiotics t ...
JUN 30, 2020
Plants & Animals
Consequences of Sixth Mass Extinction Threaten Humanity
JUN 30, 2020
Consequences of Sixth Mass Extinction Threaten Humanity
Many scientists have taken note of the rapid decline many of the world species, and several have declared that Earth's s ...
JUL 05, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
COVID-19 Attacks Endothelial Cells
JUL 05, 2020
COVID-19 Attacks Endothelial Cells
The pandemic virus SARS-CoV-2 enters the body through the respiratory system to cause the illness COVID-19. But we know ...
JUL 23, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
A Human Protein Can Mutate SARS-CoV-2, But It Can Change Back
JUL 23, 2020
A Human Protein Can Mutate SARS-CoV-2, But It Can Change Back
One way the human body can try to fight the coronavirus is by mutating it; these mutations seem to disrupt it. But the v ...
Loading Comments...