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Pesticides Compound Antibiotic Resistance

From Dr Mercola

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Agrichemicals and antibiotics in combination increase the evolution of antibiotic resistance
  • Bacteria may develop antibiotic resistance up to 100,000 times faster when they’re exposed to certain herbicides in the environment, particularly widely used herbicides like glyphosate (Roundup) and dicamba (Kamba)
  • It’s believed that other chemicals in the environment may also increase resistance in microbes, much like herbicides; however, regulatory agencies don’t regulate or test them for such effects — even among the 3,000 top-volume chemicals produced annually
  • Reducing the use of antibiotics may not be enough to stop this looming public health disaster — unless the use of herbicides and other chemicals that affect antibiotic resistance is also curbed

Antibiotic resistance is often pegged as a problem caused by the overuse of antibiotics — and this is a driving factor — but research suggests it may actually be only one piece to the puzzle. Environmental factors may be accelerating the rise of antibiotic resistance as well, particularly widely used herbicides like glyphosate (Roundup) and dicamba (Kamba).

Research from University of Canterbury researchers revealed that agrichemicals and antibiotics in combination increase the evolution of antibiotic resistance. In fact, bacteria may develop antibiotic resistance up to 100,000 times faster when they’re exposed to certain herbicides in the environment.1

“The combination of chemicals to which bacteria are exposed in the modern environment should be addressed alongside antibiotic use if we are to preserve antibiotics in the long term,” study author Jack Heinemann of the University of Canterbury, said in a news release.2

‘Like Trying to Put Out a Fire of Antibiotic Resistance With Gasoline’

The study found cases when exposure to herbicides made the antibiotics more toxic while at the same time increasing the antibiotic resistance. Heinemann explained why this is an alarming finding:

“We are inclined to think that when a drug or other chemical makes antibiotics more potent, that should be a good thing. But it also makes the antibiotic more effective at promoting resistance when the antibiotic is at lower concentrations, as we more often find in the environment … Such combinations can be like trying to put out the raging fire of antibiotic resistance with gasoline.”

The results suggest that herbicides enhance the ability of antibiotics to become antibiotic resistant and that such resistance may be acquired at rates much faster than those predicted in laboratory conditions. Previously, research by Heinemann and colleagues found that commonly used herbicides promote antibiotic resistance by priming pathogens to more readily become resistant to antibiotics.3

This includes Roundup (the actual formulation of Roundup, not just its active ingredient glyphosate in isolation), which was shown to increase the antibiotic-resistant prowess of E. coli and salmonella, along with dicamba and 2,4-D. Rodale News reported:4

“The way Roundup causes this effect is likely by causing the bacteria to turn on a set of genes that are normally off, [study author] Heinemann says. ‘These genes are for ‘pumps’ or ‘porins,’ proteins that pump out toxic compounds or reduce the rate at which they get inside of the bacteria …’

Once these genes are turned on by the herbicide, then the bacteria can also resist antibiotics. If bacteria were to encounter only the antibiotic, they would instead have been killed. In a sense, the herbicide is ‘immunizing’ the bacteria to the antibiotic … This change occurs at levels commonly used on farm field crops, lawns, gardens and parks.”

READ MORE

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2018/10/30/pesticides-compound-antibiotic-resistance.aspx