Anthropology and Environment Society
Oral Presentation Session
Both organisms with antibiotic properties and organisms that develop resistance to such antibiotics existed prior to the human discovery of antibiotics. With the industrial production of antibiotics post World War II, the scale of such biodynamics changed dramatically, as did the potential for capitalist expansion into form of microbial control. Later shifts in global production patterns have placed this production outside old industrial centers while leaving waste management from production of antibiotics unchecked, adding to the environmental stress caused by widespread overused of antibiotics in human health. At the same time as antibiotics became accessible to (some) humans, experiments in pig and other food animal production showed that production efficiency increased considerable with antibiotics added to the fodder. This lead to widespread use of a range of antibiotics in food animal production globally, causing new strains of drug resistance that travel across types of bacteria and, in turn, across human and non-human species. The totality of microorganisms resistant to antibiotics is known as the resistome. The paradox of human engagement with the resistome seems to be that the more bacteria are bombarded with antibiotics, the stronger becomes the resistome.