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A Different Perspective on the Antibiotic Resistance of Starter Cultures

Nowadays, we are very concerned about the antibiotic resistance of microorganisms and the hypothesis that lactic acid bacteria are a reservoir of antibiotic resistance has become quite popular. Therefore, it has become widely accepted that the lactic acid bacteria chosen as starter cultures should not have antibiotic resistance.

For this purpose, the criteria determined by EFSA in terms of antibiotic resistance in the selection of starter culture are not enough. Because while these criteria eliminate the transfer of antibiotic resistance genes in plasmids by conjugation, they are helpless about the transfer of this ability through transformation and transduction.

However, despite numerous studies, lactic acid bacteria of the genus Lactobacillus, Lactococcus, Streptococcus and Leuconostoc have transferred antibiotic-resistance genes to pathogens in the laboratory environment. Still, there is no evidence that they bring antibiotic resistance to pathogens in vivo conditions and food matrix.

If there is no definite evidence that lactic acid bacteria give antibiotic resistance to pathogenic microorganisms, the main fear in antibiotic resistance is the unconscious use of antibiotics; Why do we fear the antibiotic resistance of lactic acid bacteria used as starter cultures?

On the other hand, we want lactic acid bacteria to fight pathogens in the digestive system due to their excellent adaptability and competitiveness. From this point of view, in the case of microbial disease, antibiotic-resistant pathogens will relatively survive after the use of antibiotics. In contrast, lactic acid bacteria without antibiotic resistance will die. Why do we leave our soldiers fighting pathogens for us more vulnerable? Why shouldn’t pathogens become more daring when our warriors die?

Logically, lactic acid bacteria of the genus Lactococcus, Lactobacillus, Streptococcus and Leuconostoc, which are very important and beneficial for us, must also have antibiotic resistance. They should survive after taking antibiotics and not allow pathogens. That way, let’s not be even more vulnerable.


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