Antibiotic Pollution

“Bacteria in estuaries have genes for antibiotic resistance”

January 31, 2017


Journal reference: Nature Microbiology



Researchers have identified a diverse amount of antibiotic resistance genes within bacteria found in Chinese estuaries. These resistance genes come into the natural bacterial populations from antibiotic pollution and could dangerously propagate through the human population eating fish from these waterways.


While we haven’t explicitly discussed antibiotics in lecture yet I think this ties into the idea that microbes are important- not only because they’re super cool to us scientists- but because they can influence human health. Also, this explores the topic of how misuse/mishandling of antibiotics can accelerate the path to the creation of the, “superbug”.

Critical Analysis:

I find the history and development of antibiotics to be very interesting and I think it is important that the medical community (and society as a whole) is wary about what can happen if they are misused. I was also surprised to learn about this type of antibiotic pollution as I had not even thought about the effect of rare antibiotic resistance genes being introduced into ecosystems (bacteria—> fish —> humans) . This article was concise and appeared factually correct. I think that it was written in a way that presents the information in a way that the general population could comprehend it.


After reading this article I want to know just how prevalent this type of pollution is and by how much is it propelling the development of antimicrobial resistant genes

1 Comment for “Antibiotic Pollution”



I wonder how much of the antibiotic resistance is due to pollution, and how much is due to bacterial competition that we are now interested in and finally able to measure? There’s an isolated cavern in Carlsbad Caverns that has been studied for antibiotic resistance for awhile and it’s abundant there, without synthetic antibiotics to speed up the process.
Will increasing resistance to antibiotics increase the selection pressure favoring microbial mutations that enable new methods of microbial competition? It seems that the emergence of “super bugs” would be followed by the “super bugs” developing “super drugs” to use against each other?