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Environ Pollut. 2009 Nov;157(11):2893-902. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2009.05.051. Epub 2009 Jun 27.

Environmental pollution by antibiotics and by antibiotic resistance determinants.

Author information

1
Departamento de Biotecnología Microbiana, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid, and CIBERESP, Spain. jlmtnez@cnb.csic.es

Abstract

Antibiotics are among the most successful drugs used for human therapy. However, since they can challenge microbial populations, they must be considered as important pollutants as well. Besides being used for human therapy, antibiotics are extensively used for animal farming and for agricultural purposes. Residues from human environments and from farms may contain antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes that can contaminate natural environments. The clearest consequence of antibiotic release in natural environments is the selection of resistant bacteria. The same resistance genes found at clinical settings are currently disseminated among pristine ecosystems without any record of antibiotic contamination. Nevertheless, the effect of antibiotics on the biosphere is wider than this and can impact the structure and activity of environmental microbiota. Along the article, we review the impact that pollution by antibiotics or by antibiotic resistance genes may have for both human health and for the evolution of environmental microbial populations.

PMID:
19560847
DOI:
10.1016/j.envpol.2009.05.051
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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