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Antibiotic-eating bug unearthed in soil

It's well known how bacteria exposed to antibiotics for long periods will find ways to resist the drugs-by quickly pumping them out of their cells, for instance, or modifying the compounds so they're no longer toxic. Now new research has uncovered another possible mechanism of antibiotic "resistance" in soil.

In a paper published in the Journal of Environmental Quality, a group of Canadian and French scientists report on a soil bacterium that breaks down the common veterinary antibiotic, sulfamethazine, and uses it for growth.

Certain soil bacteria are already known to live off, or "eat," agricultural pesticides and herbicides, says the study's leader, Ed Topp, a soil microbiologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in London, Ontario. In fact, the microbes' presence in farm fields can cause these agrichemicals to fail.

But to Topp's knowledge, this is the first report of a soil microorganism that degrades an antibiotic both to protect itself and get nutrition.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 04:03:35 PM EST
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Every hour a new form of bacteria emerges.  (Bacteria are not sexual closed therefore they are not "species," per definition.)

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 04:28:03 PM EST
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Yes, it's like those household cleaners which kill 99% of all known germs. I'm worried about the 1% which feed on the stuff

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Dec 14th, 2012 at 03:43:57 AM EST
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