ecosystem importance: antibiotic resistance (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Saturday, January 08, 2022, 18:45 (214 days ago) @ David Turell

All part of eat or be eaten:

"Beneath the prickly spines of European hedgehogs, a microbial standoff may have bred a dangerous drug-resistant pathogen long before the era of antibiotic use in humans.

"It’s no question that antibiotic use accelerates drug-resistance in bacteria that colonize humans, says Jesper Larsen, a veterinarian at Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen. But, he says, these microbes had to get the genes to give them resistance from somewhere, and scientists don’t know where most of these genes come from.

"Now, for one type of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, Larsen and colleagues have tracked its evolution to hedgehogs hundreds of years ago. On the skin of these critters, a fungus that produces natural antibiotics may have created the environment for drug resistance to evolve in the bacteria, the researchers report January 5 in Nature.


“'There is no doubt that our usage of antibiotics is the main driver of resistance in human pathogens,” says Anders Larsen, a microbiologist at Statens Serum Institut who was also was part of the team. “This is a very special case where we can just track it back to an origin.”

"But that doesn’t explain how the hedgehogs’ S. aureus developed resistance. The team got a clue from a 1960s research study about Trichophyton erinacei, a fungus that causes “hedgehog ringworm” in humans. That study reported that T. erinacei on hedgehog skin killed some S. aureus but not others that were resistant to penicillin. Growing T. erinacei in the lab, the researchers identified two penicillin-like antibiotics pumped out by the fungi.

"This findings suggests that hedgehogs are a MRSA reservoir because “they’re living cheek by jowl with organisms that are producing penicillin,” says Gerry Wright, a biochemist at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, who was not involved with the study. (my bold)


"The history of antibiotics in the last century is a cycle of new drug discoveries shortly followed by microbial resistance cropping up to those drugs. That shouldn’t be a surprise, Wright says. “Because antibiotics have been on the planet for billions of years, and resistance is billions of years old,” he says." (my bold 2)

Comment: None of this is surprising information. The Earth is a giant restaurant. All life must have continuous energy supply to live. From the theodicy viewpoint it is impossible to create life not needing energy supplies. All organisms live in their own organized ecosystem, the complexities of which have been shown here. They have developed since the start of life and its diversification. The MRSA staph aureus happily live in their own ecosystem until they try to eat in the wrong places and then there is a battle. Stay in their system and nothing goes bad or wrong. In an eat or be eaten world it is only logical that all organisms have defense systems as this article shows, in case the wrong folks mix together. In dhw's imagined God's free-for-all world this outcome is ordained to happen. In the real God's reality, it is required by necessary diversification to form sustaining ecosystems for the food supply. So I view bad infectious diseases as unescapable bad luck, not my God's doing.

As an aside, in the theodicy arena of discussion, this does not enter the realm of metabolic errors, which have been discussed in the past

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