The Threat of Antimicrobial Resistance on the Human Microbiome

Microb Ecol. 2017 Nov;74(4):1001-1008. doi: 10.1007/s00248-017-0985-z. Epub 2017 May 11.


Ubiquitous in nature, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has existed long before the golden age of antimicrobials. While antimicrobial agents are beneficial to combat infection, their widespread use contributes to the increase in and emergence of novel resistant microbes in virtually all environmental niches. The human microbiome is an important reservoir of AMR with initial exposure occurring in early life. Once seeded with AMR, commensal organisms may be key contributors to the dissemination of resistance due to the interconnectedness of microbial communities. When acquired by pathogens however, AMR becomes a serious public health threat worldwide. Our ability to combat the threat of emerging resistance relies on accurate AMR detection methods and the development of therapeutics that function despite the presence of antimicrobial resistance.

Keywords: Antimicrobial resistance; Human microbiome.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial*
  • Humans
  • Microbiota / drug effects*


  • Anti-Infective Agents