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Researchers Reveal that Pharmaceuticals Are Triggering Microbial Resistance in Urban Streams

Following a research on the effect of drugs on microbial communities, researchers have revealed that microorganisms in urban streams are developing resistance to drugs as a result of pharmaceutical pollutions.

During the course of the research, the team of scientists measured pollution levels in a group of streams. The researchers found that urbans streams contain a higher concentration of drugs compared to streams of suburban areas. In addition to the responses of microorganism’s responses to different drugs, researchers also measured the responses of these selected organisms to caffeine, cimetidine, ciprofloxacin and diphenhydramine. The researchers found that Microbes from urbans streams have developed tolerance against different drugs.

The group of researchers detailed their findings earlier this week in the journal Ecosphere. Talking about the latest findings, Emma Rosi, an aquatic ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies said, “We suspect that since urban streams have received frequent pharmaceutical inputs over long timescales, pockets of drug-resistant microbes have developed in these streams. They are ready to colonize substrates, even when drugs are present. When faced with pharmaceutical exposure, these resistant microbes can maintain ecological function, even when other species have been eliminated.”

“Different types of microbes can withstand different types and concentrations of synthetic chemicals. When we expose streams to pharmaceutical pollution, we are unwittingly altering their microbial communities. Yet little is known about what this means for ecological function and water quality.”

As a result of the pollutions in urban stream as well as resistance of the microbes, researchers found that there has been increased concentration of Aeromonas genus in recent times.  Aeromonas genus is a group of microbes associated with human disease and gastrointestinal problems.

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