Does the Recent Growth of Aquaculture Create Antibiotic Resistance Threats Different from those Associated with Land Animal Production in Agriculture?

Hansa Magee, Arjun K. Venkatesan, Rolf Halden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

81 Scopus citations

Abstract

Important antibiotics in human medicine have been used for many decades in animal agriculture for growth promotion and disease treatment. Several publications have linked antibiotic resistance development and spread with animal production. Aquaculture, the newest and fastest growing food production sector, may promote similar or new resistance mechanisms. This review of 650+ papers from diverse sources examines parallels and differences between land-based agriculture of swine, beef, and poultry and aquaculture. Among three key findings was, first, that of 51 antibiotics commonly used in aquaculture and agriculture, 39 (or 76%) are also of importance in human medicine; furthermore, six classes of antibiotics commonly used in both agriculture and aquaculture are also included on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) list of critically important/highly important/important antimicrobials. Second, various zoonotic pathogens isolated from meat and seafood were observed to feature resistance to multiple antibiotics on the WHO list, irrespective of their origin in either agriculture or aquaculture. Third, the data show that resistant bacteria isolated from both aquaculture and agriculture share the same resistance mechanisms, indicating that aquaculture is contributing to the same resistance issues established by terrestrial agriculture. More transparency in data collection and reporting is needed so the risks and benefits of antibiotic usage can be adequately assessed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-524
Number of pages12
JournalAAPS Journal
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2015

Keywords

  • agriculture
  • antibiotic resistance
  • aquaculture
  • resistance mechanisms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science

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