Scientists have recently discovered that some bacteria in Antarctica possess genes that are resistant to antibiotics. These bacteria, even in Antarctica, can still spread beyond this area.
Research published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, conducted by scientists at the University of Chile in the city of Santiago (Chile). From 2017 to 2019, they collected samples in Antarctica for study, according to Reuters news agency.
Several types of bacteria with antibiotic resistance genes have been found in Antarctica
The team found that Pseudomonas bacteria, one of the most common groups of bacteria in Antarctica, although not pathogenic, carry genes for antibiotic resistance. Common disinfectants such as copper, chlorine or quaternary ammonium cannot affect this bacteria.
Meanwhile, Polaromonas bacteria in the Arctic are resistant to beta-lactam antibiotics. This is a large group of antibiotics used to treat common infections.
The reason why some of these bacteria have “super powers” antibiotic resistance because they evolved to adapt to the harsh natural conditions in Antarctica.
“We know the soil in the Antarctic peninsula, one of the polar regions most affected by melting ice, is home to a lot of bacteria,” said Dr. Andres Marcoleta, one of the study’s authors. .
Some of these bacteria have inherited genes that are resistant to antibiotic from their ancestors. The problem scientists are interested in is the possibility of them spreading beyond Antarctica.
“The question that needs to be asked is whether climate change can influence the emergence of infectious diseases,” said Dr Marcoleta.
One possible scenario is that bacteria harboring these antibiotic resistance genes could escape Antarctica and pass the gene on to other bacteria. This may promote the appearance of Infectious Diseases difficult to treat with antibiotics in the future, according to Reuters.