Podcast: Does air pollution make bacteria more dangerous?

Air pollution is a big problem. It’s our single largest environmental health risk, and causes an eighth of all global deaths worldwide.

We know that air pollution increases respiratory diseases and the risk of infections like pneumonia.
But now, new research suggests air pollution may alter the properties of bacteria themselves, in some potentially worrying ways.

This month, we spoke to Dr Julie Morrissey from the University of Leicester about the study, and what it means for our health.

Anand Jagatia

Image credit: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources / Flickr
This entry was posted in Clinical and Medical Microbiology, Environmental Microbiology, Podcast. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Podcast: Does air pollution make bacteria more dangerous?

  1. Ellen Gassett says:

    Since black carbon has an impact on functional and structural changes in bacteria, could this be the factor that causes some bacteria to be antibiotic resistant and not necessarily an overprescribing of the antibiotic?

    • anandjagatia says:

      Hi Ellen,

      Thanks for your comment! We put your question to Julie Morrissey, here is her reply:

      “I think the answer is no. Oversubscribing will definitely select for antibiotic resistance genes and genetic mutations causing antibiotic resistance. Air pollution may change the bacterial behaviour in certain circumstances but this is unlikely to cause permanent selection for antibiotic resistance at the genetic level. So oversubscribing is definitely a major cause of antibiotic resistance.”

      Hope that helps!

      Cheers,
      Anand

  2. Thank for answering me so quickly and clarifying my question. I think that this is an interesting subject.

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