Bacteria may be powerful weapon against antibiotic resistance

Terence Crofts, post doctoral trainer in molecular biology, Washington University School of Medicine


When I was a child, my parents gave me a sweet pink syrup to destroy the bacteria causing my sore throat. That memory is a testament to the power of antibiotics. But, through my research as a microbiologist over the past few years, I’ve learned that not only are some microbes immune to antibiotics but they can actually “eat” these drugs, using them as a nutritious food to grow and multiply.

During the past decade, scientists have established that many soil-dwelling bacteria are able to resist and eat the antibiotics we depend upon to fight nasty infections. While this might feel like a rebuke from the world of microbes – a reminder that they can evolve to resist even our most powerful drugs – this is not all bad news.

My colleagues and I in the lab of Gautam Dantas have not only discovered how bacteria are able to eat the drugs that are supposed to kill them, but how this can be useful to people as well.

Read the full piece in The Conversation.

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