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The Molecular Biology and Microbial Food Safety group (SILS) has recently published on acquisition of antibiotic resistance by the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. They show that development of resistance does not always correlate with specific mutations.


The use of antibiotics in the food production chain causes the risk of developing antibiotic resistance, which can spread to threaten human health. Therefore, the Molecular Biology and Microbial Food Safety group studies mechanisms for acquiring antibiotic resistance. Recently, PhD candidate Yanfang Feng published her findings on resistance development in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, one of the organisms she studies together with medical microbiologists from the AMC. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen with a high mortality in the intensive care setting. Feng’s findings show that at genome level there is no quantitative relationship between the frequency of mutations and resistance to commonly used antibiotics tobramycin, meropenem, ceftazidime and the piperacillin/tazobactam combination. In all cases, increased resistance was found to be the result of a complex interaction between different cellular molecular physiological systems. An exception was resistance to ciprofloxacin, which can be explained by a set of sequential mutations. The collaboration with genome sequencing and bioinformatics expertise centre SILS (RNA Biology and Applied Bioinformatics group of Timo Breit) has been crucial to obtain these results.

Publication details

Feng, Y., Hodiamont, C.J., Hest, R.M. van, Brul, S., Schultsz, C. & Kuile, B.H. ter (2016). Development of Antibiotic Resistance during Simulated Treatment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in Chemostats. PLoS One, 11 (2):e0149310. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149310

Feng, Y., Jonker, M.J., Moustakas, I., Brul, S. & Kuile, B.H. ter (2016). Dynamics of mutations during development of resistance by Pseudomonas aeruginosa against five antibiotics. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00434-16

Read the article in AAC

Read the article in PLoS One