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Tracking Change: A Look at the Ecological Footprint of Antibiotics and Antimicrobial Resistance
Department of Civil Engineering, University of British Columbia, 2002-6250 Applied Science Lane, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
School of Population & Public Health, University of British Columbia, 2206 East Mall Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 February 2013; in revised form: 19 March 2013 / Accepted: 20 March 2013 / Published: 27 March 2013
Abstract: Among the class of pollutants considered as ‘emerging contaminants’, antibiotic compounds including drugs used in medical therapy, biocides and disinfectants merit special consideration because their bioactivity in the environment is the result of their functional design. Antibiotics can alter the structure and function of microbial communities in the receiving environment and facilitate the development and spread of resistance in critical species of bacteria including pathogens. Methanogenesis, nitrogen transformation and sulphate reduction are among the key ecosystem processes performed by bacteria in nature that can also be affected by the impacts of environmental contamination by antibiotics. Together, the effects of the development of resistance in bacteria involved in maintaining overall ecosystem health and the development of resistance in human, animal and fish pathogens, make serious contributions to the risks associated with environmental pollution by antibiotics. In this brief review, we discuss the multiple impacts on human and ecosystem health of environmental contamination by antibiotic compounds.
Keywords: antibiotics; environment; antimicrobial resistance; health
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Keen, P.L.; Patrick, D.M. Tracking Change: A Look at the Ecological Footprint of Antibiotics and Antimicrobial Resistance. Antibiotics 2013, 2, 191-205.
Keen PL, Patrick DM. Tracking Change: A Look at the Ecological Footprint of Antibiotics and Antimicrobial Resistance. Antibiotics. 2013; 2(2):191-205.
Keen, Patricia L.; Patrick, David M. 2013. "Tracking Change: A Look at the Ecological Footprint of Antibiotics and Antimicrobial Resistance." Antibiotics 2, no. 2: 191-205.