Antibiotics: Has the magic gone?

Yogesh Chander, Satish C. Gupta, Sagar M. Goyal, Kuldip Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

The emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria has diminished the efficacy of several antibiotics that were used to treat infectious diseases in humans and animals. In recent years, the problem of antibiotic resistance has become more apparent as increasing numbers of bacteria have acquired resistance to multiple antibiotics. Antibiotics inhibit bacterial growth through a variety of mechanisms including inhibition of cell wall or protein synthesis, interference with DNA (or RNA) replication, and disruption of metabolic pathways or cell membrane. Bacteria develop resistance through genetic mutations or by acquiring resistant genes involved in the production of antibiotic degrading enzymes, overproduction of target molecules, efflux pumps to drain out antibiotics, and/or altered cell wall permeability to survive adverse physiological conditions. Published literature suggests that sub-therapeutic feeding of food animals for growth promotion along with casual use of antibiotics in household products such as soaps and creams is contributing to increased antimicrobial resistance in the environment. If steps are not taken to minimize selective pressure on bacteria, the effectiveness of antibiotics (hailed as 'magic bullets') may be marginalized. Important steps in the judicious use of antibiotics on the farm are: (1) education of farmers on the pitfalls of using antibiotics sub-therapeutically in the production of food animals; (2) development of animal production practices that reduce dependence on antibiotics; and (3) development of manure disposal practices that minimize the spread of residual antibiotics and antibiotic resistant bacteria into the environment. In addition, educating the general public on the use and misuse of antibiotics in daily life is also important if there is to be any significant impact on reducing the environmental spread of antibiotic resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)739-742
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Volume87
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 15 2007

Keywords

  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Antibiotic resistant bacteria
  • Mechanism of resistance
  • Prebiotics
  • Probiotics
  • Subtherapeutic antibiotics

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