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Soil 'ultra-bugs' thrive on a diet of antibiotics alone!

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posted on Apr, 3 2008 @ 10:23 PM

Soil 'ultra-bugs' thrive on a diet of antibiotics

Call them the "ultra-bugs" – bacteria that are not merely resistant to antibiotics, but feed on them. They lurk in dirt from parks, farms and gardens. While the ultra-bugs don't normally cause disease, researchers are concerned the bacteria might pass drug resistance onto their deadly kin.


While hunting for soil bacteria that can turn plant waste to biofuels, a team of microbiologists led by George Church of Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts, decided to grow soil samples in pure antibiotics as a control.

"We expected not to find a lot of bacteria that could eat antibiotics for breakfast," says Church. "We were kind of surprised."



[edit on 3-4-2008 by loam]

posted on Apr, 4 2008 @ 03:23 AM
Thanks for the post and the heads up Loam
I like your ecological-minded posts

How old is this 'ultra-bug'? They just discovered it right?... maybe it's millions of years old?..

They are worried this bacteria will pass this 'ultra immunity trait' onto other bacteria/bugs, onto the existing bugs that are harmful to crops and typically immune to anti-biotics and such? Why? Do they have actual reasons? Or did they just discover this super immune bacteria and start fearing about the what "ifs". I am just curious. It seems like 'mutations' is the fear-mongering of the botanical world hehe.

Not trying to undermine anything, just curious if they have findings to support this speculation.

posted on Apr, 4 2008 @ 05:17 AM
The reason for the speculation is the method of reproduction of bacteria (asexual) and the methods used to pass genetic material and hence traits from one set of bugs to another.

So called plasmid mediated ( plasmid is a small DNA containing sack, mediated meaning controlled) resistance is the problem. All it takes is for the bugs that have plasmids and use them, to be in contact with others that have them and use them and if one is the superbug then bingo the super bug can pass the "trait" of superbugness to other non super bugs.

There are quite a few experiments you can do at home to demonstrate this and they are very easily reproducible. The Harvard guy was being disingenuous to say he was surprised...Like hell he was ...LOL

The thing is, when you remove the stress (antibiotics) from a system the ability to be resistant can be removed from the superbugs just as easily. The super bug is no longer the only survivor (no antibiotics to eat ) and they die they probably cannot eat normal bug food as well as the non super bugs.
All this is well known and has been for decades. That's why I say the guy was disingenuous. Hey anything for a headline right???

Big Pharma companies when they could be bothered to do antibiotics research used, guess what, SOIL and oceanic sludge etc, samples to screen for new antibiotic producing species. Where there is the stress there WILL be resistance, why this guy said he was surprised is a mystery to me. So in the interests of denying ignorance, this is no big deal and don't fret over it.

I can tell you some other freaky stuff if you'd like and then say hey we were so surprised. Like where is the dirtiest (potentially nasty bugs living in human waste) place in the bathroom?

Not the toilet, not the door to the stall, not the floor, not the sink bowl.......Yes of course you guessed it the cold tap. First thing you touch (tap) wash hands, last thing you touch (tap) errrmm OOOopssss.

All this fascinating stuff is why I decided to become a Microbiologist almost 25 years ago now.

How many layers of average or even premium soft toilet tissue does it take before there is no bottom to hands bug transfer (nasty to think about I know)

From my own experiments, over 25 yrs ago now (not involving bottoms or human waste) using petri dishes and easily killed bugs (E coli) it was on average between 10 to 12 sheets. How many of us use that many...??

Elbow taps are such a good idea but not currently fashionable in the home.

Hope that helps

posted on Apr, 4 2008 @ 05:33 AM
These things have a fearsome potential to ruin mankind if they pass on their immunity.

Just imagine a scenario where you cant use any drugs because not only are the damn things immune to them, but they are actually strengthened by them!

posted on Apr, 4 2008 @ 01:54 PM
There is a DARPA funded organization (name escapes) that is apparently developing enzyme inhibitors that will destroy ALL bacterial pathogens in the human body. The problem is, we'd then need to take pills full of endosymbiotic bacteria to re-enable digestion.

posted on Apr, 4 2008 @ 03:48 PM
reply to post by SlyCM

What's the real motive? DARPA funds things for military application..

posted on Apr, 4 2008 @ 11:53 PM
To defend against biological warfare, of course.
Especially on foreign fronts.

posted on Apr, 4 2008 @ 11:59 PM

Originally posted by SlyCM (work)
To defend against biological warfare, of course.
Especially on foreign fronts.

So then in affect it's really just stoping the digestion process?

Mother Earth has that already, it's called the Sweet Pea. Dangerous stuff

btw do you have two accounts? like one for work?

posted on Apr, 5 2008 @ 03:36 PM
I think the idea is that if people are infected with anthrax, plague, tuberculosis, etc. that is antibiotic resistant, to give them the enzyme inhibitor, then either protect the beneficial bacteria in some way, or re-establish them with some sort of pill.

To answer your question, I do have two accounts, one for work. This is hopefully temporary, though, and as soon as I resolve some internet issues I will start using only one.

posted on Apr, 5 2008 @ 04:04 PM
Well i do not know a lot about surprise, but in 2002 microbes feeding on antibiotics were not a secret. Maybe now diet includes wider spectrum of those, but still it was bound to happen and not in the distant future.
I believe that only treating antibiotics as a special drugs will give us time to invent new ones (and to do that governments have to "interest" pharmaceutical firms in doing that) as older will become useless. I saw antibiotics prescribed in flues or just to keep the clients happy. Antibiotics are flushed away in hospitals in huge quantities, so microbes in the sewers have developed resistance for decades, and as described above, those traits can be received by "bad" microbes from neutral ones.
We are loosing a war: TB is back,certain bacterial pneumonias are harder to treat, MRSA strains..... Some might say that it is a natural control of species, but it can be prevented/slowed with proper drastic actions.
And even if my suspicions that certain companied might keep new antibiotics in the vault to make a load in the case of the breakthrough are correct, it still will not solve the problem because same ammount of money invested in new antibiotics brings companies less profit then in a chronic drug.

posted on Apr, 14 2008 @ 08:58 AM
The soil has more good germs than bad one.

Ever think that disposing of antibiotics outside the body is a good thing.

They could be used in the NYC water supply.

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