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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ANIMAL INTESTINAL MICROBIOMES, FOODBORNE PATHOGENS, AND ANTIMICROBIALS Title: Finding alternatives to antibiotics

Authors
item Allen, Heather
item Trachsel, Julian -
item Looft, Torey
item Casey, Thomas

Submitted to: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2014
Publication Date: June 21, 2014
Repository URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/59368
Citation: Allen, H.K., Trachsel, J., Looft, T.P., Casey, T. 2014. Finding alternatives to antibiotics. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Available: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nyas.12468/abstract.

Interpretive Summary: The spread of antibiotic-resistant pathogens requires new treatments. Cost-effective alternatives to antibiotics are urgently needed in both agriculture and human medicine. Products for disease prevention are different than products for disease treatment, and examples of both are discussed here. Changing the gut microbial community, via feed additives or fecal transplants, could be a promising way to prevent certain diseases. Non-antibiotic approaches for treating bacterial diseases include phage therapy, phage lysins, bacteriocins, and predatory bacteria. Some of these approaches are more powerful when combined with antibiotics, which improves the ability to kill bacteria and decreases the likelihood of developing antibiotic resistance. Because bacteria can evolve resistance to almost any therapeutic, it is important to use both antibiotics and their alternatives only when necessary. Exploring effective antibiotic alternatives will help to improve health and food safety.

Technical Abstract: The spread of antibiotic-resistant pathogens requires new treatments. The availability of new antibiotics has severely declined, and so alternatives to antibiotics need to be considered in both animal agriculture and human medicine. Products for disease prevention are different than products for disease treatment, and examples of both are discussed here. Modulating the gut microbial community, either via feed additives or fecal transplants, could be a promising way to prevent certain diseases. For disease treatment, non-antibiotic approaches include phage therapy, phage lysins, bacteriocins, and predatory bacteria. Interestingly, several of these methods augment antibiotic efficacy by improving bacterial killing and decreasing resistance selection. Because bacteria can ultimately evolve resistance to almost any therapeutic, it is important to continue to use both antibiotics and their alternatives judiciously.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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