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Antibiotic resistance tracked at pig farms

A study by the University of Illinois tracked the movement of the antibiotic tetracycline resistant genes from wastewater lagoons to groundwater at two pig farms.

Antibiotic resistant genes sometimes leak from waste lagoons into groundwater as a result of routine use of antibiotics at swine facilities.

The US research team discovered some genes found in pig waste lagoons are transferred from one bacterial species to another, with such cross-species migration sometimes diluting and at other times amplifying genes that result in antibiotic resistance.

The researchers said their study is the first to take a broad sample of tetracycline resistance genes in a landscape dominated by pig farming, as well as the first to survey the genes directly, rather than focusing on the organisms that host them.

The findings are reported in the August issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Related website:
• University of Illinois

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