Caister Academic Press

Antibiotic resistance/susceptibility profiles of bifidobacteria and molecular analysis of atypical resistances

Baltasar Mayo, Sigrid Mayrhofer, Susana Delgado, and Konrad J. Domig
from: Bifidobacteria: Genomics and Molecular Aspects (Edited by: Baltasar Mayo and Douwe van Sinderen). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2010)


Antibiotics have greatly improved human life expectancy and quality, being undisputed winners in the fight against infectious diseases over the past 70 years. However, their continued success is severely threatened by the global spread of antibiotic resistance (AR). There is significant and wide-spread concern that commensal and beneficial bacterial populations, such as food-borne and gastrointestinal tract (GIT)-associated bacteria, will become a reservoir for AR-conferring genes, from which these could readily be transferred to opportunistic and pathogenic organisms. Bifidobacteria represent a ubiquitous commensal bacterial group in the GIT of humans and animals, where they are supposed to exert protective and beneficial effects on their host. This has led to the use of selected strains as probiotics. High numbers of bifidobacteria are deliberately brought into contact with a vast array of intestinal microorganisms during probiotic consumption, which means that AR spread is possible if probiotic strains carry transferable AR-conferring genes. Strains carrying such genes should be excluded from use as probiotics. This chapter addresses key topics on the methodology of surveying AR in bifidobacteria, their intrinsic resistance/susceptibility profiles, and summarises the molecular basis and genetic organisation of atypical resistances from bifidobacteria. Among these, AR encoded by acquired genes, particularly those harboured in mobile genetic elements, pose the greatest risk of transfer. Knowledge on AR-conferring genes and their transfer potential is critical in preventing dissemination of AR among intestinal bacteria through the use of probiotics read more ...
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