Researching the dung of more than 9000 pigs and chicken – scientists at Wageningen Bioveterinary Research and Utrecht University certainly aren’t deterred. Along with an international team they published the results of a study into antibiotic resistance in the prestigious journal Nature Microbiology. The level of antibiotic resistance in the intestinal tracts of pigs and broilers (meat chickens) turned out to be linked to antibiotic usage.
The study revealed that the quantity and type of resistance genes present in the intestinal tracts differ according to the type of animal and country. The animals – pigs and chickens – and the nine countries differ as far as resistance to antibiotics is concerned. This reflects the difference in the degree of antibiotic usage per animal species and country. More resistance occurs in the intestinal tracts of pigs than in chickens, whereas a greater variety of resistance genes occur in chickens. The results of the study are of relevance not only to animals, but also to humans. Humans are after all exposed to resistance genes through food.
The researchers opted for a new approach to measuring resistance. They collected information via the DNA in the dung of the animals. This information codes for antimicrobial resistance in the overall bacterial community in the intestinal tract. This is called the resistome and comprises all the resistance genes present in the intestinal tract.
Source: Wageningen University and Research