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Ecology of antimicrobial resistance: humans, animals, food and environment

Investigation article published in International Microbiology

September 1st, 2012

Antimicrobial resistance is a major health problem. After decades of research, numerous difficulties in tackling resistance have emerged, from the paucity of new antimicrobials to the inefficient contingency plans to reduce the use of antimicrobials; consequently, resistance to these drugs is out of control. Today we know that bacteria from the environment are often at the very origin of the acquired resistance determinants found in hospitals worldwide. Here we define the genetic components that flow from the environment to pathogenic bacteria and thereby confer a quantum increase in resistance levels, as resistance units (RU). Environmental bacteria as well as microbiomes from humans, animals, and food represent an infinite reservoir of RU, which are based on genes that have had, or not, a resistance function in their original bacterial hosts. This brief review presents our current knowledge of antimicrobial resistance and its consequences, with special focus on the importance of an ecologic perspective of antimicrobial resistance. This discipline encompasses the study of the relationships of entities and events in the framework of curing and preventing disease, a definition that takes into account both microbial ecology and antimicrobial resistance. Understanding the flux of RU throughout the diverse ecosystems is crucial to assess, prevent and eventually predict emerging scaffolds before they colonize health institutions. Collaborative horizontal research scenarios should be envisaged and involve all actors working with humans, animals, food and the environment

Gonzalez-Zorn B. and Escudero JA..

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Ecology of antimicrobial resistance: humans, animals, food and environment

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Ecology of antimicrobial resistance: humans, animals, food and environment


Universidad ComplutenseDepartamento de Sanidad Animal. Facultad de Veterinaria. Universidad Complutense (UCM).

Universidad ComplutenseServicio de Zoonosis de Transmisión Alimentaria y Resistencia a Antimicrobianos (ZTA). Centro de Vigilancia Sanitaria Veterinaria (VISAVET). Universidad Complutense (UCM).

Institut PasteurBacterial Genome Plasticity (BGP). Department of Genomes and Genetics. Institut Pasteur.

International Microbiology
2.556 2012

NLMID: 9816585

PMID: 23847814

ISSN: 1139-6709

TITLE: Ecology of antimicrobial resistance: humans, animals, food and environment

JOURNAL: Int Microbiol

NUMERACIÓN: 15(3):101-9

AÑO: 2012

PUBLISHER: Viguera Editores

AUTHORS: Gonzalez-Zorn B. and Escudero JA..


Bruno González Zorn
José Antonio Escudero García-Calderón

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2436/20.1501.01.163


Gonzalez-Zorn B. and Escudero JA. Ecology of antimicrobial resistance: humans, animals, food and environment. International Microbiology . 15(3):101-9. 2012. (R). ISSN: 1139-6709. DOI: 10.2436/20.1501.01.163