What happens when every bug is a super-bug?

Bacteria that actually thrive on so-called antibiotics may be a lot more common than previously thought.

Surprised by how easily the microbes devoured the antibiotics, Church and colleagues did a broader test, exposing hundreds of microbes to 18 antibiotics representing most of the major classes of naturally occurring and synthetic antibiotics, including penicillin and the widely prescribed antibiotic ciprofloxacin.

“We could find … bacteria that could grow on almost all of them,” depending on the bacteria and the source of the soil, Church said.

The bacteria were in soil; a possible origin is manure from antibiotic-fed cattle.

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