Resistance to antibiotics
History of antibiotics
The use of plant extracts for the treatment of infectious diseases has been practiced since ancient times; however, the history of antibiotics begins at the beginning of the 20th century, with the finding of Rudolf Von Emmerich, a German bacteriologist who managed to isolate a substance capable of destroying the microorganisms that cause cholera and diphtheria, although without application in humans. Since then the hopes to remove infectious diseases increased, especially with the discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming in 1928.
Currently, antibiotics are a great tool to control diseases of infectious origin, although these remain a major health problem worldwide due to the emergence of strains resistant to these chemicals.
It was thought that, with the development of new antibiotics, the problem could be solved, but also new resistance mechanisms difficult to control. To this is added the appearance of bacteria that can survive even with the presence of more than one antibiotic, so called multi resistant, due to the selective pressure of antibiotics, which remove sensitive bacteria and thus be able to resist the action which the antimicrobials have on them.
Appearance of resistances
Currently, bacterial resistance continues to increase and represents serious challenges for the treatment of infections, since it prevents the antibiotic from performing its mechanism of action.
Some microorganisms have always been resistant to a particular agent, while others achieve this resistance through different mechanisms such as mutation, obtainment of plasmids or transposons through horizontal gene transfer, which transmit the code information that is free in the environment. This means that any microorganism can obtain and assimilate properties to obtain this resistance.
Mechanisms of resistances
The mechanisms of resistance of bacteria are mainly three:
- Inactivation of the antibiotic by enzymes, the bacteria produces enzymes that inactivate the antibiotic.
- Bacterial modifications that prevent the arrival of the antibiotic to the target point, mutations in the wall that prevents the entry of certain antibiotics or change transport systems
- Alteration by the bacterium of its target point , prevens or makes difficult the action of the antibiotic.
The same bacterium can develop several mechanisms of resistance to one or several antibiotics and, similarly, an antibiotic can be inactivated by different mechanisms of different bacterial species, which complicates the study of the resistance of bacteria to different antimicrobials.
About half of the antimicrobial substances administered to animals for non-therapeutic purposes are closely related to those used in human medicine for therapeutic purposes such as penicillins, macrolides, cephalosporins, etc. , since humans share a very high percentage of pathogens with animals.
An important part of the use of antibiotherapy for non-therapeutic purposes is growth promoters or disease prevention. This could be avoided by improving the conditions and immune status of the animals, reducing, on the one hand, the costs of these treatments and, also the resistance to antibiotics in diseases both in animals and in humans.
Regulations for the use of antibiotics
In the 60s The Great Britain established the first Swann Commission, with the aim of establishing recommendations on the use of antibiotics in farm animals. In the 70s, the working group of the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) published "the use of antibiotics in animal feed" and mid-70s, the EU adopted the first measures to prevent the use of medically important antibiotics as growth promoters. The regulations have been expanding and changing as time has passed and it has become known, through various studies and research, that animals intended for food can be reservoirs of resistant pathogens, contributing to the generation of strains resistant to various antibiotics in humans.
Plant extracts as alternatives to non-therapeutic antibiotics
It is necessary to eliminate unnecessary and abusive use of non-therapeutic antibiotic therapy both in human medicine and in animal production, since its use contributes enormously to this problem.
That is why our focus should be in search of "one health" in order to prevent coordinately diseases that impact both public and animal health and ecosystems. Such, as a integrated approach to disease prevention In cattle that do not depend on the generalized administration of antibiotics of medical importance, so it will help to preserve the lifespan of these medicines.
Plant extracts have been used since ancient times in human medicine and are very important in animal production due to its many biological effects that make them able to replace chemicals and improve farm productivity without generating resistance, no need for periods of suppression, which favor the entry of diseases in the last stages of production, which irremediably leads to productivity losses.
The pronutrients are complex organic molecules of plant origin derived from the shikimic acid, whose first definition was in 1950 by Dr. Gordon Rosen for its ability to stimulate immune cells by strengthening the specific immune system, increasing the activity of macrophages and neutrophils, thus improving the elimination of pathogenic microorganisms from the organism. Echinacea purpurea, Vaccinium oxycoccus, Allium sativum, or Cynara scolymus, are some of the plant species that contain the mentioned pronutrients.
The supplementation of animal diets with pronutrients improves their immune status and the productive parameters of the farm. Therefore, due to its important function in different animal systems and its enormous benefits pronutrients have been and are the protagonists of our activity and research during the last 20 years.