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Diversity 2017, 9(4), 42; doi:10.3390/d9040042

High Levels of Antibiotic Resistance but No Antibiotic Production Detected Along a Gypsum Gradient in Great Onyx Cave, KY, USA

Department of Biological Sciences, State University of New York, Plattsburgh, NY 12901, USA
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Received: 7 July 2017 / Revised: 12 September 2017 / Accepted: 19 September 2017 / Published: 25 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Diversity in Caves)
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Abstract

A preliminary study of antibiotic production and antibiotic resistance was conducted in Great Onyx Cave in Mammoth Cave National Park, KY, to determine if gypsum (CaSO4∙2H2O) affects these bacterial activities. The cave crosses through the width of Flint Ridge, and passages under the sandstone caprock are dry with different amounts of gypsum. The Great Kentucky Desert hypothesis posits that gypsum limits the distribution of invertebrates in the central areas of Great Onyx Cave. Twenty-four bacterial isolates were cultivated from swabs and soils. Using three methods (soil crumb, soil crumb with indicator bacteria, and the cross-streak method using isolated bacteria) we did not detect any production of antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance was widespread, with all 24 isolates resistant to a minimum of two antibiotics of seven tested, with three isolates resistant to all. Antibiotic resistance was high and not correlated with depth into the cave or the amount of gypsum. The Great Kentucky Desert hypothesis of the negative effects of gypsum seems to have no impact on bacterial activity. View Full-Text
Keywords: gypsum; antibiotic production; antibiotic resistance; Great Onyx Cave; Great Kentucky Desert gypsum; antibiotic production; antibiotic resistance; Great Onyx Cave; Great Kentucky Desert
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Lavoie, K.; Ruhumbika, T.; Bawa, A.; Whitney, A.; de Ondarza, J. High Levels of Antibiotic Resistance but No Antibiotic Production Detected Along a Gypsum Gradient in Great Onyx Cave, KY, USA. Diversity 2017, 9, 42.

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