[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 20-Sep-2010
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Contact: Graeme Baldwin
graeme.baldwin@biomedcentral.com
44-020-319-22165
BioMed Central

Seagulls harbor antibiotic resistant bacteria

Analysis of seagull droppings has revealed that one in ten carry 'superbug' bacteria, resistant to the last-resort antibiotic Vancomycin. Researchers writing in BioMed central's open access journal Proteome Science investigated 57 migratory seagull samples recovered from an island off the coast of Portugal.

Gilberto Igrejas from the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Portugal, worked with a team of researchers to carry out the study. He said, "We used a novel technique called proteomics to detect the maximum number of bacterial proteins which are thought to be connected in some, as yet unknown, way to antibiotic resistance. Our comprehensive description of the proteins that we found may provide new targets for development of antimicrobial agents. This knowledge may also help to identify new biomarkers of antibiotic resistance and virulence factors".

The seagulls studied (Larus cachinnans) are migratory birds that can be found across Europe, including the South East of England. They are opportunistic marine feeders, and will readily eat the food sources provided by humans, especially garbage. It is thought that they may represent one way that antibiotic resistance genes can be spread from place to place. According to Igrejas, "Migrating birds that fly and travel long distance can act as transporters, or as reservoirs, of antibiotic resistant bacteria and may consequently have a significant epidemiological role in the dissemination of resistance".

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Notes to Editors

1. Proteomic characterization of vanA-containing Enterococcus recovered from Seagulls at the Berlengas Nature Reserve, W Portugal
Hajer Radhouani, Patrícia Poeta, Luís Pinto, Júlio Miranda, Céline Coelho, Carlos Carvalho, Jorge Rodrigues, María López, Carmen Torres, Rui Vitorino, Pedro Domingues and Gilberto Igrejas
Proteome Science (in press)

During embargo, article available here

After the embargo, article available at the journal website

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication.

2. Proteome Science is an Open Access, peer-reviewed, online journal considering research in proteomics. The journal is specifically interested in manuscripts that integrate functional or structural proteomic analysis with cell or developmental biology.

3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.



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