The role of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance in nature

Rustam Irekovitch Aminov

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

420 Citations (Scopus)


P>Investigations of antibiotic resistance from an environmental prospective shed new light on a problem that was traditionally confined to a subset of clinically relevant antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens. It is clear that the environmental microbiota, even in apparently antibiotic-free environments, possess an enormous number and diversity of antibiotic resistance genes, some of which are very similar to the genes circulating in pathogenic microbiota. It is difficult to explain the role of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance in natural environments from an anthropocentric point of view, which is focused on clinical aspects such as the efficiency of antibiotics in clearing infections and pathogens that are resistant to antibiotic treatment. A broader overview of the role of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance in nature from the evolutionary and ecological prospective suggests that antibiotics have evolved as another way of intra- and inter-domain communication in various ecosystems. This signalling by non-clinical concentrations of antibiotics in the environment results in adaptive phenotypic and genotypic responses of microbiota and other members of the community. Understanding the complex picture of evolution and ecology of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance may help to understand the processes leading to the emergence and dissemination of antibiotic resistance and also help to control it, at least in relation to the newer antibiotics now entering clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2970-2988
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


  • conjugative transposon CTNDOT
  • cystic-fibrosis patients
  • multiple-antimicrobial resistance
  • promotes horizontal dissemination
  • penicillin-binding proteins
  • swine production facilities
  • metallo-beta-lactamases
  • global gene-expression
  • multidrug efflux pump
  • pseudomonas-aeruginosa
  • conjugative transposon CTNDOT
  • metall-beta-lactamases


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance in nature'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this