The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Antibiotics and Antibacterial

The Good, The Bad and The
Ugly of Antibiotics and
Antibacterial Products
An Interdisciplinary Approach to
Reducing Antibiotic Resistance
The War Against Bacteria;
Do we really need them???
 To decay plants and animals to put nutrients back into the
There are 10 times as man microbial on and in us than there are
actual human cells
We need it to break down food to digests
We eat them for food (to make bread, beer, wine, yogurt, cheese)
Marine animals live off phytoplankton's as a main food source
Microbial symbioses is needed to allow plants to grow
Biodegrading waste generated for industry and households
They help detoxify soil and water dump sites
Used in water filtration to remove organic materials for filth waters
that is eventually returned to rivers ad streams as our drinking
About 70% of antibiotics are products of microbial fermentation
Vitamin B12, riboflavin, and vitamin C are products of fermented
Bacteria + Antibiotic = Resistance
Why Do Bacteria Resist?
 Because they want to survive
 They are fighters
 Some bacteria can change and adapt to
their surroundings within seconds
 That is why they have survived for
billions of years
The Problem with Resistance
 Increased Morbidity/Mortality
 Increased Incidence of Disease
 Increased Duration of Illness
 Increased Cost of Treatment
How Does Resistance Occur?
 Misuse of antibioticsplants, food, ad in our home
the fear of germs from people,
 Anomalous Combinations- drug resistant microbes
 Enhanced transmissions of resistance
factors- increased efficency with resistance exchenage; global
travel, budget cuts in health care, increased number of
immuneosuppressed people, medicle technologies
 Reservoir Hypothesis- increased pressure by drug
companies to take more antibiotics, therefore creating more and
more thresholds to the products. Resistant bacteria begin to thrive,
creating a reserve f antibiotic-reistant bacteria.
Where are all these
Antibiotics coming
Household Products
 Over 700 “antibacterial” products are sold to
the consumer
 Ex. Sweat socks, toothpaste, kitchen plastics,
cements, paints, cleaning products
 Microbes resist their compounds and have
been documented in nature
 These products end up in the sewer or
Antibiotic / Antimicrobial
 Antibiotic = Chemical produced by a
microorganism that kills or inhibits the growth
of another microorganism
 Antimicrobial Agent = Chemical that kills or
inhibits the growth of microorganisms
Antimicobial Agents
 Disinfectant: antimicrobial agent used
only on inanimate objects
 Chemotheraputic Agent: antimicobial
agent that can be used internally
 Pasteurization: destruction of all
disease-producing microorganisms or
reduction in spoilage microorganisms
 Sterilization: killing or removal of all
living organisms and their viruses
 Disposal of unused or outdated antibiotics
are flushed down the toilette
 Ingested Antibiotics are not completely
absorbed by the body and pass through
as waste.
 The waste then goes to the water
treatment plant.
 The treated water is then pumped into
our water systems
 How does it effect the natural ecosystem?
 Do we drink this
 Rivers and lakes are contaminated with
urban effluent run off.
 What do you use to wash your car?
 Do you use pesticides on your garden?
 Agricultural run off from farms also have a
greater antibiotic resistant bacterial
populations. Why?
Medical Waste
 Discharge from hospitals cause an increase in
bacterial populations resistant to certain
 Both treated and untreated medical waste is
disposed of in the domestic sewage systems
 No other precautions are taken for these more
denser disposal areas
 Antibiotic sales total $8 billion each year
 50 million pounds each year, with 25 million
pounds prescribed to humans
Where are the
other 25 million
pounds of
coming from?
Animal Products
 Antibiotics are often added to animal feeds
and fishery waters to promote growth
 As humans we are ingesting these antibiotics
too and it is possible that antibacterial
resistance is growing in our guts
 There is also a release to open waters from
aquaculture which contains medicated feed
 There is the potential of release in the future
from molecular farming
 Bioaccumulation occurs and is stored in
women's breast milk which is then fed to
Fruits, Vegetables and Grains
 Approx. 300,000 pounds of antibiotics are
used on plant production each year
 The sprays help with bacterial infections,
however, there are now resistant bacteria
 Most of the antibiotics come off the
produce and are washed into the soil
ending up in the ground water
QuickTime™ and a
are needed to see this picture.
Microbe News You are the producer of a local news program.
Design a ten-minute news story to tell about the dangers of antibiotics
in the environment. Include examples of the diversity of antibiotics
that are entering the environment and how they are dispersed. You
can present the story in class, videotape it, record it, or create a
Power Point demo, or hand it in as in the form of a journal or news
paper article.
 Minimum of 500 words
 Each member of the group needs to hand in the answers to the
questions below. Can work on them together or separately but
must hand in or e-mail different copies
 Should include portions from all three lessons of the Good, the
Bad, and the Ugly (Hand washing lesson, storm drain lesson,
and Dr. guest speaker lesson)
refer to the article Microbes: What They
Do & How Antibiotics Change Them
by Maura Meade-Callahan
 1. What effect does the use of antibacterial agents have on our natural
environment? Hypothesize how these agents will affect the evolution of
antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
 2. How many products do you know about that are manufactured with the
help of bacteria? Make a point form list.
 3. What part of the article did you already know about? What part of the
article was the most shocking to you?
 4. Will the information gathered from the article and the three the lessons on
the Good, The Bad and the Ugly of Antibiotics and Antibiotic products change
any of your current behaviours? How and why?
 5. Hypothesize what would happen if all bacteria in the world were destroyed.
6. What do you suggest would be an effective message on prescription
antibiotic labels that would help consumers better understand antibiotic use?