Antibiotic Resistance Genes-Higher in Bacteria Colonizing Plastics Derived from Clothing & Textiles

The Economist November 13th 2021 pp82|Science&technology|Microbiology|

“Perilous plastic” “Microplastics in household dust could promote antibiotic resistance”


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Image from researchgate.net


WWTP waste water treatment plant effluent.


Plastics are man-made and surprisingly some microbes may eke out an existence when attached to plastics in homes and in our oceans. Good news microbes living on plastic may help degrade plastics but potentially bad news these microbes like Proteobacteria seem to carry more antibiotic resistance genes when compared to other microbes that colonize substrates other than plastics. The implications for human health are unclear.


In the home, the plastics “are the tiny bits that break away from synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon, commonly found in clothing and other textiles.” DNA analyses were performed on samples of these fibers and “1385 genera of bacteria along with 18 genes associated with antibiotic resistance” were identified.