Do plants really transmit superbugs to people?



New Delhi, Jun 24 (ANI): Antibiotic-resistance infections are a big challenge to public health, food safety, and economy. In their quest to find how antibiotic-resistance bacteria and their genes are transmitted from meat and plant-based foods, the researchers have found that plant-foods serve as vehicles for transmitting antibiotic resistance to the gut microbiome. Spread of antibiotic-resistant superbugs from plants to humans is different from outbreaks of diarrheal illnesses caused immediately after eating contaminated vegetables. Superbugs can asymptomatically hide in (or ‘colonise’) the intestines for months or even years, when they then escape the intestine and cause an infection, such as a urinary infection. The researchers developed a novel, lettuce-mouse model system that does not cause immediate illness to mimic the consumption of superbugs with plant-foods. They grew lettuce, exposed the lettuce to antibiotic-resistant E. coli, fed it to the mice and analysed their faecal samples over time.

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