/   Home   /   Newsroom   /   News Updates

Humans Spread Antibiotic Resistance Along Thousands of Miles of Coast in China

Feb 07, 2017     Email"> PrintText Size


A three-dimensional (3D) computer-generated image of a cluster of paired, or diplococcal vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) bacteria. (CDC/ James Archer)

Antibiotic resistance genes have been spread by human activity over 4,000 miles of coastal waters in China, according to a study published Monday.

More than 200 resistance genes were found in sediments from estuaries from near the border with North Korea to the border just east of Vietnam, a Chinese-led team reported in Nature Microbiology.

Resistance genes against vancomycin were found in all estuaries. This suggest that wastewater from medical centers could be a source, the study said, because vancomycin is an antibiotic of last resort.

The study was published in Nature Microbiology. It can be found at j.mp/antresis. Researchers led by Yong-Guan Zhu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences studied 90 sediment samples from 18 estuaries.

Widespread use of antibiotics is known to encourage evolutionary selection for resistant bacteria. Moreover, these antibiotics are making their way into the water.

"A recent study estimated a total of 53,800 tons of antibiotics were released to rivers and waterways in China during 2013, which raises general concerns about the effects of environmental exposure to antibiotics,” the study stated.

Signs of these antibiotics were found in estuary sediments, confirming that they had reached the coastal environment.

"Antibiotic residue and its correlation with ARGs (antibiotic resistance genes) suggest a significant degree of selection by antibiotic pollutants, either by direct selection or by co-selection via linkage with other resistance determinants,” the study said.

Previous Chinese antibiotic resistance studies had been conducted on a much smaller scale of a single river or estuary, the article said. This one is the first to give a comprehensive look at coastal waterways in China. (News Locker)


(Editor: LIU Jia)


ZHU Yongguan

Institute of Urban Environment

E-mail: ygzhu@iue.ac.cn

Related Articles

bacterial phylogeny;horizontal gene transfer;mobile resistome;antibiotic resistance;gut microbiome

Chinese Investigators Characterize the World of Resistance Gene Exchange Among Bacteria

Sep 12, 2016

Certain antibiotic resistance genes are easily transferred from one bacterial species to another, and can move between farm animals and the human gut. A team led by Chinese researchers has characterized this "mobile resistome," which they say is largely to blame for the s...

Tree Rings;Tibetan Plateau;water resources

Researchers Reveal History of Spatial Moisture Difference over Tibetan Plateau from Tree Rings

Sep 01, 2015

Tibetan Plateau (TP) is known as the "Water Tower" in Asia, yet it is unclear whether or not water supply to the north and south of the plateau is the same. Dr. ZHANG Qibin's research group at the State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of B...

Contact Us

Copyright © 2002 - Chinese Academy of Sciences