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
AUG 18, 2020
Microbiology
The Science of Pesto
AUG 18, 2020
The Science of Pesto
  The word pesto comes from the Genovese word pestâ (pestare in Italian) which means “to pound” o ...
SEP 09, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
Why Liver Gene Therapies Have Not Worked & How to Improve Them
SEP 09, 2020
Why Liver Gene Therapies Have Not Worked & How to Improve Them
Diseases that are caused by errors in a gene might be cured if we could correct those errors, or genetic mutations.
SEP 30, 2020
Microbiology
Bringing Attention to a Neglected Disease
SEP 30, 2020
Bringing Attention to a Neglected Disease
Schistosomiasis doesn't get much research attention, but it affects around 240 million people around the world, killing ...
OCT 18, 2020
Microbiology
Mouth Microbes Play a Role in Oral Cancer Development
OCT 18, 2020
Mouth Microbes Play a Role in Oral Cancer Development
Oral hygiene is not only important for keeping teeth and gums healthy; it can also affect a person's health in general.
OCT 25, 2020
Microbiology
Over Time, Plague Infections Spread Faster
OCT 25, 2020
Over Time, Plague Infections Spread Faster
From the time of the Black Death, around 1348 and the Great Plague of 1665, epidemics of plague occurred in Europe. Rese ...
NOV 18, 2020
Microbiology
Bolivian Health Care Workers Sickened in Outbreak of Chapare Virus
NOV 18, 2020
Bolivian Health Care Workers Sickened in Outbreak of Chapare Virus
Five people in Bolivia are known to have been infected with the Chapare virus, which causes hemorrhagic fever. Some infe ...
Loading Comments...