The mechanisms associated to methylation and de-methylation of mercury is still a undissolved hot topic. Several studies have identified the intestinal microbiota of mammals as contributors in the methylation and de-methylation process. Demethylation of methyl mercury in the gut can impact the uptake and excretion of MeHg exposure through the diet.
The co-selection of resistance towards mercery and antibiotics has been described several times, thus the driving force of these mechanisms and the transmission of resistance properties among bacteria are not fully understood, and the topic is given worldwide attention.
In 2016, NIFES identified multi-drug resistant E. coli from blue mussels harvested along the coast of Norway. If and how these bacteria might pose a food safety risk by transferring resistant genes to the human gut microbiotia has not been examined, and an in vivo trial with mice could give important information about this.
An overall goal is to increase the collaboration and exchange of knowledge about mercury, antibiotics, genetics and model systems, between the sections, including joint publications.
The scientific goal is to evaluate the capacity of gut microbiota in demethylation and to identify gut bacteria involved in methylation and de-methylation of mercury in the mice. These are important processes involved in the uptake and excretion of MeHg from the diet.
The achieved knowledge will be used to examine the role of mercury as a driving force on the development of antibiotic resistance among gut microbiota.
To decide the potential food safety risk associated with multi-drug resistant bacteria introduced to human through shell consumption, concerning the transmission of resistant genes to the gut microbiota.