Po­ten­tial bio-haz­ard

Down to Earth - - SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY -

Ma­nure from dairy an­i­mals is com­monly used as fer­tiliser. But it has now emerged that ma­nure from farm an­i­mals has a di­verse set of an­tibi­otic re­sis­tance genes that are passed into it from the an­i­mal’s gut. Use of ma­nure as fer­tiliser trans­fers these gene-car­ry­ing bac­te­ria to the soil from where they can be re­leased into the en­vi­ron­ment. Such genes could get trans­ferred to hu­mans in two ways—through their host bac­te­ria colonis­ing hu­mans or through the host bac­te­ria in­fect­ing other bac­te­ria that colonise hu­mans. In ei­ther sce­nario, an­i­mal dung could cause an­tibi­otic re­sis­tance in hu­mans. This raises the need for ac­tive sur­veil­lance of such bac­te­ria. mBio,April22


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