Bacteria are notorious for developing resistance to antibiotics through rapid mutation and natural selection. Radiation is a sure way to stimulate mutations. Could the radiation that will be contaminating the environment surrounding the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant for hundreds of years produce bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics? Researchers, Shigeyuki Nakanishi and colleagues reporting in the February 1, 2012 issue of the journal Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety have performed experiments to find out.
The nasty ability of bacteria to develop resistance to our most powerful antibiotics is a major global problem. MRSA, a drug-resistant strain of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, thrives in hospitals where antibiotic use has bred a super-bug commonly known as the "flesh-eating" bacteria. Vancomycin is the only remaining antibiotic that can touch the antibiotic resistant germ, but new strains of MRSA are showing resistance even to vancomycin.
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