Aquaculture as yet another environmental gateway to the development and globalisation of antimicrobial resistance

Lancet Infect Dis. 2016 Jul;16(7):e127-e133. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(16)00100-6. Epub 2016 Apr 12.


Aquaculture uses hundreds of tonnes of antimicrobials annually to prevent and treat bacterial infection. The passage of these antimicrobials into the aquatic environment selects for resistant bacteria and resistance genes and stimulates bacterial mutation, recombination, and horizontal gene transfer. The potential bridging of aquatic and human pathogen resistomes leads to emergence of new antimicrobial-resistant bacteria and global dissemination of them and their antimicrobial resistance genes into animal and human populations. Efforts to prevent antimicrobial overuse in aquaculture must include education of all stakeholders about its detrimental effects on the health of fish, human beings, and the aquatic ecosystem (the notion of One Health), and encouragement of environmentally friendly measures of disease prevention, including vaccines, probiotics, and bacteriophages. Adoption of these measures is a crucial supplement to efforts dealing with antimicrobial resistance by developing new therapeutic agents, if headway is to be made against the increasing problem of antimicrobial resistance in human and veterinary medicine.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Aquaculture / methods*
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy
  • Bacterial Infections / prevention & control*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / drug effects*
  • Fishes
  • Humans
  • Internationality


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents