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Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology

, 7:68

First Online: 12 December 2016Received: 17 May 2016Accepted: 28 October 2016


Antimicrobials are critical to contemporary high-intensity beef production. Many different antimicrobials are approved for beef cattle, and are used judiciously for animal welfare, and controversially, to promote growth and feed efficiency. Antimicrobial administration provides a powerful selective pressure that acts on the microbial community, selecting for resistance gene determinants and antimicrobial-resistant bacteria resident in the bovine flora. The bovine microbiota includes many harmless bacteria, but also opportunistic pathogens that may acquire and propagate resistance genes within the microbial community via horizontal gene transfer. Antimicrobial-resistant bovine pathogens can also complicate the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases in beef feedlots, threatening the efficiency of the beef production system. Likewise, the transmission of antimicrobial resistance genes to bovine-associated human pathogens is a potential public health concern. This review outlines current antimicrobial use practices pertaining to beef production, and explores the frequency of antimicrobial resistance in major bovine pathogens. The effect of antimicrobials on the composition of the bovine microbiota is examined, as are the effects on the beef production resistome. Antimicrobial resistance is further explored within the context of the wider beef production continuum, with emphasis on antimicrobial resistance genes in the food chain, and risk to the human population.

KeywordsAntibiotics Antimicrobial resistance Antimicrobial usage Beef production Bovine pathogens Bovine microbiota Cattle Enteropathogens Fecal bacteria Resistome AbbreviationsAGPAntimicrobial growth promoter

AMRAntimicrobial resistant-resistance

ARDBAntimicrobial resistance gene database

BRDBovine respiratory disease

CARDThe comprehensive antibiotic resistance database

CIPARSCanadian integrated program for antimicrobial resistance surveillance

CoNSCoagulase-negative Staphylococcus

EHECEnterohaemorrhagic E. coli

ESBLExtended spectrum β-lactamase

ESVACEuropean surveillance of veterinary antimicrobial consumption

FDAFood and Drug Administration

HGTHorizontal gene transfer

ICEIntegrative and conjugative element

MDRMulti-drug resistance

MGEMobile genetic element

MG-RASTMetagenomics rapid annotation using subsystem technology

NARMSNational antimicrobial resistance monitoring system

PCUPopulation correction unit

STECShiga toxin-producing E. coli

UK-VARSSUK veterinary antibiotic resistance and sales surveillance

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Autor: Andrew Cameron - Tim A. McAllister


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