• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Bacterial resistance to antibiotics

Extracts from this document...


In many ways, the most fascinating feature of bacteria is their ability to resist the onslaught of antibiotics through natural selection. Generally, the two characteristics that most help bacteria render antibiotics futile are the resistance genes in a few bacterial cells, and exposure to antibiotics. When an antibiotic for a particular strain of bacteria is created and administered, it kills every cell vulnerable to the drug. However, some bacterial cells survive due to genetic mutations or because they possess protective genes obtained from other bacteria. Due to exposure to the antibiotic, most of the surviving cells' natural competitors for nutrients and space (the bacteria susceptible to the drug) ...read more.


Bacteria are also able to live on people's unwashed hands and invasive, prosthetic materials, such as plastic catheters, for long periods of time, allowing bacteria to invade patients in hospitals very easily. One such species of bacteria is Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as staph, which have thrived in hospital environments. Staph bacteria can breed in patients' skin or the hands of a nurse or other person in contact with the patient, and easily be transferred to catheters (long plastic tubes which travel through patients' bodies in order to expedite the receiving of medicine or blood transfusions) or open sores on the patiyent. ...read more.


This became clear in July of 1997 when a 59-year old diabetic patient from Michigan with kidney failure using a dialysis machine to clean his blood, became infected with a strain of S. aureus. The bacteria withstood every drug, including vancomycin, and after some time, doctors were forced to remove the plastic stomach catheter that had caused the infection. While the infection cleared up, the man eventually died of his original disease. One of the most persistent methods antibiotic resistance is encouraged in bacteria is through the feeding of antibiotics to cattle and livestock in order to advance their growth. Although the amount of antibiotics reaching humans is miniscule, over time, it slowly builds up resistance. One method to reduce antibiotic resistance is to ban the utilization of antibiotics used in humans in animal growth production. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Living Things in their Environment section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Living Things in their Environment essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The effects of disinfectants and antibacterial soap on bacterial growth

    5 star(s)

    Hence, it was no surprise that the cleaners containing ethanol were all effective. Sodium hypochlorite also has a bactericidal effect, which can be attributed primarily to its release of hypochlorous acid, HOCI; however, it will disintegrate over time, and its effectiveness is influenced by factors such as pH and temperature 121.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    A2 Biology Coursework -Investigation into the effect of different concentrations of antibiotics on the ...

    4 star(s)

    after each sample had been measured but still this could have lead to contamination which may have given those anomalous results present in my graph. * Also the limitations with the syringes was that they had air bubbles within them and I tried to get rid of them by flicking them but even then some still remained.

  1. Investigation - Examination of bacterial sensitivity on antibiotics.

    bacillus and micrococcus. (xv) Finally when the results are ready, place the dish on a piece of graph paper and use the squares to measure the diameter of the clear area. (d)Changes I had made in my method from my plan: (i)

  2. Investigating the effect of four antibiotic agents on gram positive and gram negative bacteria.

    ensuring that the wire loop reached all of the edges and finished at the opposite edge (diagram 2 below). I then rotated the plate 90 and repeated this technique to make sure as much agar was covered as possible as shown by the third diagram, not forgetting to seal the dish and placing it upside down in the incubator.

  1. Evolution, Natural selection and Darwinism

    The pressure is based on the suitability for survival given conditions which exist at the time; hence the intensity and the direction depend on time and space. <Ref.4 - p202> There are 3 types of selection operation in the population; <Ref.1 - p44-442 & Ref.4 - p202-203> 1.

  2. Extended Experimental Investigation - Natural Antibiotics

    while lawning - Loose hair tied up - Check 'ChemWatch' for risks of substances used (find attached) - Sterilize inoculating loops and forceps immediately - Immediately dispose of agar plates when finished observations Method 1. Sterilize bench or other working area with methylated spirits.

  1. The comparison of bacterial content in a range of milks.

    As these bacteria produce lactic acid the pH level lowers. As this happens it causes the proteins to become attracted to each other and the milk becomes coagulate. Raw milk from a cow is an excellent medium for bacterial growth.

  2. Early Humans?

    al., 2002). The cranium was found in several hundred fragments but when pieced together it is 95% complete, except it was missing the lower jaw. The cranium was found in the Toros-Menalla layer and associated floral and faunal remains of extinct species have placed the date of this potential hominin at six to seven million years ago.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work