The quantitative measurement of antimicrobial resistance in Escherichia coli at the meta-population level (meta-population analysis)

Lett Appl Microbiol. 2002;35(4):326-30. doi: 10.1046/j.1472-765x.2002.01199.x.


Aims: To define a method that describes antimicrobial resistance of meta-populations of bacteria in both a quantitative and biologically meaningful way.

Methods and results: Using spiral plating and colony counting technology we obtained, from animal faecal samples, the density of Escherichia coli that grow at different concentrations of antibiotic. A mathematical description of this dose-response curve fitted the data well. The parameters of this model have biological meaning and the model allowed subtle differences between meta-populations to be detected.

Conclusions: This method, termed MPA (meta-population analysis), is practical and provides a useful quantitative description of antimicrobial resistance in a bacterial meta-population.

Significance and impact of the study: This study shows that resistance can be defined quantitatively. The method may be used in many epidemiological and clinical studies of antimicrobial resistance in animals and humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cattle
  • Culture Media
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects*
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests / methods*
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Swine


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Culture Media