Insights into Antibiotic Resistance Through Metagenomic Approaches

Robert Schmieder; Robert Edwards


Future Microbiol. 2012;7(1):73-89. 

In This Article

Antibiotic Resistance in Marine Microbial Communities

Antibiotic resistant bacteria have been found widely in aquatic environments.[72,73] As we discussed earlier for terrestrial environments, resistant organisms in marine environments can occur following the introduction of antibiotics from agricultural runoff or wastewater treatment plants. Aquaculture farms are a significant source of antibiotics contaminating marine environments, because antibiotics are added to overcome the diseases that predominate in the high animal density cages. There is evidence that antibiotic resistance can also occur in marine environments without the addition of antibiotic contamination. For instance, the same resistance genes found in clinical human pathogens have been reported among pristine ecosystems without a history of antibiotic contamination.[74,75] For example, a sequence-based metagenomic study of the microbial community associated with the coral Porites astreoides showed the presence of fluoroquinolone-resistance genes.[76] The authors proposed that the coral harbors specialized microbiota that may protect the coral from pathogens by producing antibiotics; however, there was no evidence of fluoroquinolone production in the metagenomes and there was no evidence of a human-derived source of fluoroquinolones into the environment.