Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Antibiotic resistance: A rising concern in marine ecosystems

16.02.2009
Scientists find threats as well as cures in ocean

A team of scientists, speaking today at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, called for new awareness of the potential for antibiotic-resistant illnesses from the marine environment, and pointed to the marine realm as a source for possible cures of those threats.

The group stated that newly completed studies of ocean beach users point to an increasing risk of staph infections, and that current treatments for seafood poisoning may be less effective due to higher than expected antibiotic resistance. The group also asserts that new research has identified sponge and coral-derived chemicals with the potential for breaking down antibiotic resistant compounds and that could lead to new personalized medical treatments.

"While the marine environment can indeed be hostile to humans, it may also provide new resources to help reduce our risks from illnesses such as those caused by water borne staph or seafood poisoning," stated Paul Sandifer, Ph.D., former member of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, chief scientist of NOAA's Oceans and Human Health Initiative, and co-organizer of the symposium.

Carolyn Sotka, also with the NOAA Oceans and Human Health Initiative and lead organizer of the session, stated "It is critically important that we continue research on the complex interactions between the condition of our oceans and human health. Without doubt, this research will develop new understandings of ocean health risks and perhaps more importantly crucial discoveries that will lead to new solutions to looming public health problems."

Coral, Sponges Point To Personalized Medicine Potential

"We've found significant new tools to fight the antibiotic resistance war," says NOAA research scientist Peter Moeller, Ph.D., in describing the identification of new compounds derived from a sea sponge and corals.

"The first hit originates with new compounds that remove the shield bacteria utilize to protect themselves from antibiotics. The second hit is the discovery of novel antibiotics derived from marine organisms such as corals, sponges and marine microbes that fight even some of the worst infectious bacterial strains. With the variety of chemicals we find in the sea and their highly specific activities, medicines in the near future can be customized to individuals' needs, rather than relying on broad spectrum antibiotics."

The research team, a collaboration between scientists at NOAA's Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, S.C., the Medical University of South Carolina and researchers at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., noticed a sponge that seemed to thrive despite being located in the midst of a dying coral reef. After extraction, testing showed that one of the isolated chemicals, algeliferin, breaks down a biofilm barrier that bacteria use to protect themselves from threats including antibiotics. The same chemical can also disrupt or inhibit formation of biofilm on a variety of bacteria previously resistant to antibiotics which could lead to both palliative and curative response treatment depending on the problem being addressed.

"This could lead to a new class of helper drugs and result in a rebirth for antibiotics no longer thought effective," notes Moeller. "Its potential application to prevent biofilm build-up in stents, intravenous lines and other medical uses is incredible."

The compound is currently being tested for a variety of medical uses and has gone through a second round of sophisticated toxicity screening and thus far shows no toxic effects.

Staph: A Beach Going Concern

Research, funded by multiple agencies and conducted by the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences and the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, found that swimmers using public ocean beaches increase their risk for exposure to staph organisms, and they may increase their risk for potential staph infections once they enter the water.

"Our study found that if you swim in subtropical marine waters, you have a significant chance , approximately 37 percent, of being exposed to staph — either yours or possibly that from someone else in the water with you," said Dr. Lisa Plano, a pediatrician and microbiologist with the Miller School of Medicine. Plano collaborated in the first large epidemiologic survey of beach users in recreational marine waters without a sewage source of pollution. "This exposure might lead to colonization or infection by water-borne bacteria which are shed from every person who enters the water. People who have open wounds or are immune-compromised are at greatest risk of infection."

The Miami research team does not advise avoiding beaches, but recommends that beach-goers take precautions to reduce risk by showering thoroughly before entering the water and after getting out. They also point out that while antibiotic resistant staph, commonly known as MRSA, has been increasingly found in diverse environments, including the marine environment, less than three percent of staph isolated from beach waters in their study was of the potentially virulent MRSA variety. More research is needed to understand how long staph (including MRSA) can live in coastal waters, and human uptake and infection rates associated with beach exposures.

Antibiotic Resistance in Seafood-borne Pathogens Increasing

Researchers at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Science in West Boothbay Harbor, Maine, report that the frequency of antibiotic resistance in vibrio bacteria was significantly higher than expected. These findings suggest that the current treatment of vibirio infections should be re-examined, since these microbes are the leading cause of seafood-borne illness and death in the United States. The severity of these infections makes antibiotic resistance in vibrios a critical public health concern.

Naturally-occurring resistance to antibiotics among Vibrios may undermine the effectiveness of antibiotic treatment, but as yet this has not been extensively studied. Furthermore, antibiotics and other toxicants discharged into the waste stream by humans may increase the frequency of antibiotic-resistant Vibrio strains in contaminated coastal environments.

"We found resistance to all major classes of antibiotics routinely used to treat Vibrio infections, including aminoglycosides, tetracyclines, and cephalosporins," stated Bigelow's Ramunas Stepanauskas, Ph.D. "In contrast, we found that Vibrios were highly susceptible to carbapenems and new-generation fluoroquinolones, such as Imipenem and Ciprofloxacin. This information may be used to design better strategies to treat Vibrio infections."

Ben Sherman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.noaa.gov

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed
18.01.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht 127 at one blow...
18.01.2017 | Stiftung Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Leibniz-Institut für Biodiversität der Tiere

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>