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The Rising Tide of Antimicrobial Resistance in Aquaculture: Sources, Sinks and Solutions

School of Biological Sciences, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth PO1 2DY, UK
Departments of Marine Biotechnology and Biological Sciences, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth PO1 3QL, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Allen Place, Rosemary Jagus and Paul Long
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(6), 158;
Received: 31 March 2017 / Revised: 22 May 2017 / Accepted: 25 May 2017 / Published: 1 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances and New Perspectives in Marine Biotechnology II 2016)
PDF [1094 KB, uploaded 23 June 2017]


As the human population increases there is an increasing reliance on aquaculture to supply a safe, reliable, and economic supply of food. Although food production is essential for a healthy population, an increasing threat to global human health is antimicrobial resistance. Extensive antibiotic resistant strains are now being detected; the spread of these strains could greatly reduce medical treatment options available and increase deaths from previously curable infections. Antibiotic resistance is widespread due in part to clinical overuse and misuse; however, the natural processes of horizontal gene transfer and mutation events that allow genetic exchange within microbial populations have been ongoing since ancient times. By their nature, aquaculture systems contain high numbers of diverse bacteria, which exist in combination with the current and past use of antibiotics, probiotics, prebiotics, and other treatment regimens—singularly or in combination. These systems have been designated as “genetic hotspots” for gene transfer. As our reliance on aquaculture grows, it is essential that we identify the sources and sinks of antimicrobial resistance, and monitor and analyse the transfer of antimicrobial resistance between the microbial community, the environment, and the farmed product, in order to better understand the implications to human and environmental health. View Full-Text
Keywords: aquaculture; antimicrobial resistance; fish; probiotics; horizontal gene transfer; resistome aquaculture; antimicrobial resistance; fish; probiotics; horizontal gene transfer; resistome

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Watts, J.E.M.; Schreier, H.J.; Lanska, L.; Hale, M.S. The Rising Tide of Antimicrobial Resistance in Aquaculture: Sources, Sinks and Solutions. Mar. Drugs 2017, 15, 158.

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