Effective antibiotics are essential for modern medical treatment. As a consequence of increased consumption, resistance is a growing problem worldwide. Bacteria are found in most terrestrial and aquatic environments, and are associated with humans, animals, and plants as well as food products. Both food and water are easily contaminated with bacteria, which can affect the normal microbiota of humans and animals through consumption and/or contact. Antibiotic resistance is a natural phenomenon and is found in varying degrees in all ecological niches where bacteria exist. In the last 10-20 years there has been a dramatic increase in the incidence of antimicrobial resistance in almost all ecological niches. A significant and continuous exchange of microbes between different ecological niches occur, however only in recent years have we become more aware that the whole ecosystem is probably an important factor for the spread of genes conferring antimicrobial resistance, as well as resistant microbes. An obvious knowledge gap is the occurrence of antibiotic resistance in the marine environment, and what impact this may have as a reservoir for the development and spread of resistant bacteria and their genes.
The objective of this study is to provide additional information on the status of antibiotic resistance in bacteria from selected seafood organisms from wild populations. Initially there will be studies on wild pelagic and whitefish obtained through the research cruise programme. The main part of the methods applied are already established at NIFES. For other methods, a widespread collaboration with the Norwegian Veterinary Institute (VI), the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI), and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). The work will be performed by a PhD candidate, in which a position is already announced.