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Antibiotic-Eating Bug Unearthed in Soil: Newly Discovered Bacterium Degrades an Antibiotic Both to Protect Itself and Get Nutrition

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It's well known how bacteria exposed to antibiotics for long periods will find ways to resist the drugs -- by quickly pumping them out of their cells, for instance, or modifying the compounds so they're no longer toxic.

Now new research has uncovered another possible mechanism of antibiotic "resistance" in soil. In a paper published on Dec. 6 in the Journal of Environmental Quality, a group of Canadian and French scientists report on a soil bacterium that breaks down the common veterinary antibiotic, sulfamethazine, and uses it for growth.

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