Scientists from the University of Birmingham and Norwich Research Park have discovered a link between a major mechanism of antibiotic resistance and resistance to the disinfectant triclosan which is commonly found in domestic products.[wp_ad_camp_1]
Researchers made the unexpected finding that bacteria that mutated to become resistant to quinolone antibiotics also became more resistant to triclosan.[wp_ad_camp_1]
The scientists showed that the quinolone-resistance mutation altered the way the bacteria package their DNA inside a cell and that these mutants had also turned on various self-defence mechanisms — together these gave triclosan resistance.
Quinolone antibiotics are an important and powerful group of human medicines, and this new discovery raises concerns that the use of triclosan can give antimicrobial resistance.
The research, carried out at the Institute of Microbiology and Infection at the University of Birmingham in collaboration with The Quadram Institute and John Innes Centre based at Norwich Research Park, was published today in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.
Corresponding author Dr Mark Webber, from the Quadram Institute and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham, said: “We think that bacteria are tricked into thinking they are always under attack and are then primed to deal with other threats including triclosan.
“The worry is that this might happen in reverse and triclosan exposure might encourage growth of antibiotic resistant strains.
“We found this can happen in E. coli. As we run out of effective drugs, understanding how antibiotic resistance can happen and under what conditions is crucial to stopping selection of more resistant bacteria.”
Source:University of Birmingham