Zinc and copper in animal feed – development of resistance and co-resistance to antimicrobial agents in bacteria of animal origin

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Yazdankhah, Siamak ; Rudi, Knut ; Bernhoft, Aksel (2014)
  • Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
  • Journal: Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease, volume 25 (issn: 0891-060X, eissn: 1651-2235)
  • Related identifiers: pmc: PMC4179321, doi: 10.3402/mehd.v25.25862
  • Subject: animal feed | Zinc, copper, animal feed, bacteria, antimicrobial resistance | bacteria | antimicrobial resistance | copper | Mini Review | Microbial ecology | Zinc | QR100-130

Farmed animals such as pig and poultry receive additional Zn and Cu in their diets due to supplementing elements in compound feed as well as medical remedies. Enteral bacteria in farmed animals are shown to develop resistance to trace elements such as Zn and Cu. Resistance to Zn is often linked with resistance to methicillin in staphylococci, and Zn supplementation to animal feed may increase the proportion of multiresistant E. coli in the gut. Resistance to Cu in bacteria, in particular enterococci, is often associated with resistance to antimicrobial drugs like macrolides and glycopeptides (e.g. vancomycin). Such resistant bacteria may be transferred from the food-producing animals to humans (farmers, veterinarians, and consumers). Data on dose-response relation for Zn/Cu exposure and resistance are lacking; however, it seems more likely that a resistance-driven effect occurs at high trace element exposure than at more basal exposure levels. There is also lack of data which could demonstrate whether Zn/Cu-resistant bacteria may acquire antibiotic resistance genes/become antibiotics resistant, or if antibiotics-resistant bacteria are more capable to become Zn/Cu resistant than antibiotics-susceptible bacteria. Further research is needed to elucidate the link between Zn/Cu and antibiotic resistance in bacteria.Keywords: Zinc; copper; animal feed; bacteria; antimicrobial resistance(Published: 26 September 2014)Citation: Microbial Ecology in Health & Disease 2014, 25: 25862 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/mehd.v25.25862
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