What role does aquaculture play in the global rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria?

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Institutionen för ekologi, miljö och botanik

Abstract: In a world where the human population is increasing, new innovations to produce enough food are required. Aquaculture’s part of the global animal protein production has increased in recent years and could be a possible solution. However, if aquaculture is poorly managed, it can result in negative consequences and one such consequence is the development of antibiotic resistance. In this review, I examine how aquaculture affect antibiotic resistance by studying what the literature says on accumulation of antibiotics in different organisms and sediment, if antibiotics can be transferred to humans through consumption of antibiotic treated products, and if human pathogens in aquaculture farms may acquire antibiotic resistance. Furthermore, I examine what factors are contributing to irresponsible antibiotic use and how such use is managed. The result of this review indicate that antibiotics are able to accumulate in organisms and sediment. It is not clear however how consumption of these affect human microbiomes. In contrast, it is clear that antibiotic resistance can be transferred from antibiotic-resistant bacteria to human pathogens. Regarding antibiotic use, irresponsible use foremost exists in low-income countries and the main drivers behind such use are socioeconomic ones, such as lack of knowledge, poverty and food security. Finally, I propose possible solutions that might improve future management. 

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