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The development of antibiotic resistance within microbial communities, especially in clinical settings, is currently an important public health issue. Human activity, such as the clinical overuse of therapeutic antibiotics, as well as the spread of antibiotics in the environment by anthropogenic pollution, is mainly responsible for this observed rise in resistance. Furthermore, it is predicted that as antibiotic resistance increases in bacterial populations, as will virulence: the capacity of these microbes to infect. This is due to the selection of antibiotic resistance, through widespread antibiotic use, co-selecting for virulence via shared cellular mechanisms between the two factors. We investigated the proposed link between antibiotic resistance and virulence by utilizing larval zebrafish and Pseudomonas aeruginosa of varying degrees of antibiotic resistance as a host-pathogen model. We were successful in developing a novel method to test virulence via static immersion. Using this technique, we found that there was no significant correlation between antibiotic resistance and virulence in the P. aeruginosa strains that we tested. We conclude that the developed method of static immersion will prove useful in understanding host-pathogen interactions, and can be utilized in future studies moving forward. Lastly, we suggest that further P. aeruginosa strains should be tested, as the lack of correlation between antibiotic resistance and virulence could be due to the small sample size used in this study. Investigating the connection between antibiotic resistance and virulence is crucial in understanding the impacts and consequences of society’s current antibiotic use, and potentially in remediating the human activity responsible for the rise of antibiotic resistance in microbial populations.
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Azulai, Daniella, "The Co-Occurrence of Antibiotic Resistance and Virulence in the Opportunistic Pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa" (2017). Senior Projects Spring 2017. 114.