An ecological perspective on U.S. industrial poultry production: the role of anthropogenic ecosystems on the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria from agricultural environments

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2011 Jun;14(3):244-50. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2011.04.003. Epub 2011 May 27.


The industrialization of food animal production, specifically the widespread use of antimicrobials, not only increased pressure on microbial populations, but also changed the ecosystems in which antimicrobials and bacteria interact. In this review, we argue that industrial food animal production (IFAP) is appropriately defined as an anthropogenic ecosystem. This paper uses an ecosystem perspective to frame an examination of these changes in the context of U.S. broiler chicken production. This perspective emphasizes multiple modes by which IFAP has altered microbiomes and also suggests a means of generating hypotheses for understanding and predicting the ecological impacts of IFAP in terms of the resistome and the flow of resistance within and between microbiomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Husbandry / methods*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Bacteria / growth & development*
  • Chickens
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Ecosystem*
  • Humans
  • United States


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents