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Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria - Acceleration of their evolution (Apr/27/2006 )

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Do you think that we are over paranoid about microorganisms in our environment and are creating a much more resistant population of bacteria? I heard on NPR today an epidemiologist talk about how you need to sanatize your computer keyboard at work and at home to prevent the spread of bacteria. Yeah I do agree with that ... but do you think we are all taking this antibacterial craze a little too far. The other thing that amazed me was how he referred to everything as being contaminated with microorganisms. For the average listener I believe the word contaminated would sound a little scary. I sometimes worry that us scientists make people overly paranoid about the presence of bacteria. Not that I'm advocating never washing your hands ...

What are your thoughts???


triclosan is the source of all that is evil

paranoia also leads to overuse of antibiotics which leads to more resistant strains which leads to nastier illness once your normal flora are knocked down

kids eating dirt is like more vaccinations...and what's up with some of these antibacterial products these days? I've seen children's toys, toothbrushes, tupperware, lotion...


What about the supposed viral resistant/antibiotic tissue paper that I think it was Kleenex was putting out/advertising a while back ago??


All antibiotic soaps/ tissue paper and the likes should be banned!

When I first started in the lab, I was curious of what kind of bacteria lived on my skin. I touched several types of antibiotic plates and grew quite a few different species of bacteria (and fungi but that doesn't count).

I don't like the implication of my little experiment.


I´m from Germany and I think you´re right. Here, you can get Antibiotics only from a Doctor and only when you´re really ill. A cold for example does not count. We even have a saying: A cold lasts one week if you take medicine and 7 days when you do nothing. I´ve heard that in the USA you can buy antibiotics freely in a Drug store blink.gif and every time you sneeze you throw in a few pills, just to be sure. The antibiotic concentration has to be enormous in your sewerage. Hysteric? Oh yes you are tongue.gif First I was glad to live here, when I heard about it, but then I was reminded that bacteria travel by Plane very easily. dry.gif


In future, we may have many different types of aggressive antibiotic resistant bacteria. ph34r.gif

-Minnie Mouse-

I agree that as a society (here in Oz, at least), we are becoming way too paranoid- with antibacterial products of all kinds available on the market. It drives me nuts, and my poor non-science friends and family have to put up with my constant ranting about how bad this is!! Ahhhhh, I think I really get on their nerves..... smile.gif

I went to a really interesting talk by a paediatrics professor the other day (sorry her name escapes me just now), about how early exposure to microbes shapes our immune systems, and the implications of this in allergies and hypersensitivity etc etc......
Very interesting stuff....


we shouldnt forget that antibiotics and antibiotic-resistance are not inventions of mankind.

Most antibiotics are taken from moulds or certain bacteria or are improved derivates of these products. There is a chemical war going on for millions of years between the kingdom fungi and the bacterial domain. Mankind has only borrowed some of their weapons and modified them a little bit. In fact we were sort of helpless against most bacteria before we exploited the penicillium mould.

Bacteria developed antibiotic-resistence plasmids long before we appeared on earth. So why were the bacteria on Flemings famous agar plate not resistent? The reason is natural selection.

If you take a billion bacteria living somewhere on the s key of your kexboard for example there are probably 2 or 3 among them who are resistant to (for example) penicillin. They have this extra plasmid. Normally they would never get in contact with penicillin so in this population this extra plasmid is actually a disadvantage cause it costs the resistant bacteria some extra ATP to keep and express it (thats why only a minority has it in the first place).

Now if you spray antibiotics on your keyboard things change. The resistant ones will have an advantage and will multiply faster (or die less). So after some spraying you have increased the resistant bacteria in this population. Now when you press the s key and dont wash your hands, eat with your fingers and still wear a tshirt in the rainy september... well you know the deal.

But the thing is once you throw this old keyboard away or keep using this spray the bacteria on it will steadily lose their resistance again because it is again a disadvantage for them. So the idea of immune bacteria all around the globe is ridiculous. Come on! All the mould in this world had several million years time to accomplish this and failed. So how should we?

(Of course thats just an example. If you are an expert micro biologist you probably find a lot of factual errors here. Its ok.)


Just curious.

Are there any 70% ethanol-resistance bacteria or fungi?

-Minnie Mouse-

QUOTE (Minnie Mouse @ Sep 12 2007, 02:02 PM)
Just curious.
Are there any 70% ethanol-resistance bacteria or fungi?

There are spores around.

I had similar paranoia and asked my Mircobiology professor a question when he was teaching antibiotic resistance. I never got the answer from him - either he didn't know or he was offended, I dunno. But, I had asked out of curiosity.

I had asked that if we are brushing teeth every morning from childhood, won't the bacteria in mouth be resistant to the toothpaste? After one fren learning dentistry told me how toothpaste works, I felt that I had asked wrong question blush.gif

-Bungalow Boy-

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