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
JAN 19, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
JAN 19, 2020
Engineering Mosquitoes to Stop Dengue Virus Transmission
The dengue virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. It is found in over one hundred countries and threatens three billion people with a serious illness....
JAN 30, 2020
Microbiology
JAN 30, 2020
25% of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Can Spread Resistance Directly to Other Microbes
This research also suggests that antibiotics do not increase the rate at which bacteria acquire drug resistance genes....
FEB 02, 2020
Microbiology
FEB 02, 2020
A Potential Treatment for MERS is Found
A coronavirus causes MERS, which currently has no treatment. This work may help change that....
MAR 03, 2020
Microbiology
MAR 03, 2020
Understanding an Antiviral Drug, as COVID-19 Cases Rise in the US
There have now been nine deaths in the United States, all in Washington state from COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2....
MAR 03, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAR 03, 2020
Drug Used for Ebola Virus Could Fight COVID19
Previously, the drug remdesivir was found to treat coronaviruses that cause Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (...
MAR 30, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
MAR 30, 2020
Scientists Discover an Antibiotic Resistance Gene
The gene enables bacteria to resist the effects of an aminoglycoside antibiotic called plazomycin....
Loading Comments...