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International Journal of Microbiology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 312956, 10 pages
Review Article

Assessment of Bacterial Antibiotic Resistance Transfer in the Gut

Department of Microbiological Surveillance and Research, Statens Serum Institut, Artillerivej 5, 2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark

Received 16 June 2010; Revised 21 November 2010; Accepted 9 December 2010

Academic Editor: Jorge H. Leitao

Copyright © 2011 Susanne Schjørring and Karen A. Krogfelt. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We assessed horizontal gene transfer between bacteria in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. During the last decades, the emergence of antibiotic resistant strains and treatment failures of bacterial infections have increased the public awareness of antibiotic usage. The use of broad spectrum antibiotics creates a selective pressure on the bacterial flora, thus increasing the emergence of multiresistant bacteria, which results in a vicious circle of treatments and emergence of new antibiotic resistant bacteria. The human gastrointestinal tract is a massive reservoir of bacteria with a potential for both receiving and transferring antibiotic resistance genes. The increased use of fermented food products and probiotics, as food supplements and health promoting products containing massive amounts of bacteria acting as either donors and/or recipients of antibiotic resistance genes in the human GI tract, also contributes to the emergence of antibiotic resistant strains. This paper deals with the assessment of antibiotic resistance gene transfer occurring in the gut.