Chapter 2 : Antimicrobial Resistance

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Antimicrobials are widely used in human medicine, agricultural production, and food processing and have been essential for ensuring human and animal health as well as the safety of our food supply. This chapter discusses the resistance to distinct agents such as antibiotics, food antimicrobials, and disinfectants. A section briefly discusses the types of antibiotics and mechanism of antimicrobial resistance (AR). Depending on the mode of action, antibiotics can be categorized into bactericidal and bacteriostatic agents. Various mechanisms have been adopted by bacteria to provide resistance to different types of antibiotics. AR due to genetic changes can be transmitted to progeny by vertical transmission and to other susceptible bacteria by horizontal gene transmission (HGT) mechanisms. In the past decade, a variety of antibiotic-resistant (ART) foodborne pathogens have been isolated and characterized, indicating that the food chain can serve as an avenue for transmitting ART bacteria to humans. The chapter focuses on several important foodborne pathogens as well as nonpathogenic strains and their resistance to antibiotics. Overall, microbial resistance to food antimicrobials, sanitizers, and disinfectants is less well understood and more difficult to characterize and quantify than resistance to antibiotics, and standardized methods have not been developed, nor are surveillance systems in place. The chapter ends with a discussion on the critical issues, gaps, and future directions of AR.

Citation: Zhang L, Wang H, McEntire J, Newsome R. 2013. Antimicrobial Resistance, p 19-44. In Doyle M, Buchanan R (ed), Food Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818463.ch2
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Figure 2.1

Flow of ART microorganisms from farm to fork. CCP, critical control points for mitigation. doi:10.1128/9781555818463.ch2f1

Citation: Zhang L, Wang H, McEntire J, Newsome R. 2013. Antimicrobial Resistance, p 19-44. In Doyle M, Buchanan R (ed), Food Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818463.ch2
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Table 2.1

Major classes of antibiotics and their applications

Citation: Zhang L, Wang H, McEntire J, Newsome R. 2013. Antimicrobial Resistance, p 19-44. In Doyle M, Buchanan R (ed), Food Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818463.ch2
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Table 2.2

Examples of antimicrobial resistance mechanisms in bacteria

Citation: Zhang L, Wang H, McEntire J, Newsome R. 2013. Antimicrobial Resistance, p 19-44. In Doyle M, Buchanan R (ed), Food Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818463.ch2

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