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Antibiotic resistant bacteria from the nature
Antibiotics are naturally or synthetically produced drugs used for treatment of wide spectrum of microorganisms. As a result of uncontrolled antibiotics use, modern society faced antibiotic resistance phenomenon. Genes providing resistance could be transferred inside one or in between different species. Newly developed resistant organism is called superbug and it is usually resistant to more than one antibiotic. Number of newly created drugs couldn’t follow fast tempo of antibiotic resistance development. Medicine doesn’t have a solution for this problem yet; most experiments focused on this issue are dealing with genetic analysis of the resistant bacterial strains. Discovery of resistant microorganisms at the place where they were least expected, could change direction of the further investigation.

Lechuguilla cave is located in the Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. It is discovered in 1986 and it is 7th longest known cave (>209 km in length). Due to unique appearance, only specially approved scientific research teams can cross its borders and explore it further. Besides interesting geological formation and cave decorations, chemolithoautotrophic bacteria were found inside. Laboratory experiments on sampled bacterial films revealed one important characteristic - they are antibiotic resistant. Out of 500 bacterial strains, 93 managed to survive medium containing 26 different antibiotics. 70% of 93 tested strains can grow when exposed to 3 or 4 different classes of antibiotics. 3 strains proved to be distant relatives of anthrax species and they managed to survive when exposed to 14 out of 26 tested antibiotics.

Lenchuguilla cave is old between 4 and 7 million years. Specific location and isolated entrance prevented water and modern era inventions from reaching the cave. That means that organisms in the cave have never been exposed to drugs, chemicals and other substances and they didn’t have the reason to develop antibiotic resistance for successful survival in the past. Antibiotic resistance was considered to be consequence of genetic mutation that allows bacterium to survive harsh environmental conditions. Mutated genes are transferred to the next generation through simple cell division, horizontally via plasmids or by viruses. This experiment showed that ancient non-pathogenic bacterial strains contain genes that provide antibiotics resistance even if they never have been exposed to antibiotics. New hypothesis about antibiotic resistant genes emerged: if those genes are not result of genetic mutation as a consequence of selective natural pressure to survive negative environmental conditions, than those genes must have been created during long evolutionary period, probably lasting thousands of years, for some other reason. Question is: why they developed and how those genes managed to reach pathogen strains of bacteria that develop antibiotic resistance in hospitals and animal farms today? Couple theories could explain this riddle. Maybe antibiotic resistant genes are created to provide some other beneficial characteristic essential for bacterial survival and ability to survive antibiotic exposure is simply a coincidence (related traits). Maybe cave contains some natural antibiotic that are still not found. Or, maybe, antibiotic resistant genes emerged when different bacterial species fight against each another in “chemical war” for food and environment. No matter which theory is correct, this revelation is important for future experiments focused on bacterial resistance. Detailed genetic analysis of the newly discovered bacterial strains will provide necessary information on their survival mechanism and possibly help combat future bacterial resistance cases.

Microorganisms resistant to various antibiotics could be seen everywhere in the nature. Unlike Lenchuguilla cave, they are result of careless and incautious human behavior. Garbage and its disposal is problem even when it comes to the medical waste. A lot of drugs end up in the sewage and enter feeding chain easily. Drugs could reach birds living on Antarctica or sharks swimming in the sea. Bacteria found in those animals prove that modified and fortified microorganisms could induce disaster in the natural population of animals as they couldn’t be eliminated by mechanisms that were efficient in the past. Besides affecting one animal species, they could be transferred from one organism to another and even end up in human plate.

Unfortunately, in the battle against antibiotic resistance, microorganisms are still winning. If we want to save human population and the ecosystems throughout the world, we need to find fast and efficient method as soon as possible.
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Antibiotic resistance is one of the key issue of medical science. Today we hear many new bugs (resistant to even broadspectrum antibiotics) emerging and affecting the efficiency of antibiotics, worldwide.
The main cause of this is adaptation of virulent/ pathogenic microorganisms to drugs over the period of time or during the course of their continous exposure to such drugs. With such problems emerging at alarm level, today many new policies are coming in place related to recommendation or use of drugs or antibiotics.
For example: One has to recomment/ use alternative drugs or medicine so that resistance is not developed in microorganism due to continous exposure to antibiotics. Another policy is related to requirements of treatment which guide to use low spectrum antibiotics where there is really no need or requirement of using broadspectrum antibiotics. This will keep the antibiotic sensitive to pathogens in case where really needed or in serious cases / diseases.
But looking at the scenario of resistance develpement in microorganism, the time is coming to really go out of way in developing new drugs and pharmaceutical methods. The time is coming were one need to innovate totally new concept in the development of drugs / antibiotics something very similar to what PCR technology had done in bringing the revolution in genetics....and many people/scientists think that nanotechnology is one of that tool, which coming future will confirm it !
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