Reduced selection for antibiotic resistance in community context is maintained despite pressure by additional antibiotics
Selection for antibiotic resistance at very low antibiotic concentrations has been demonstrated for individual antibiotics in single species experiments. Furthermore, selection in these focal strains is reduced when taking place in complex microbial community context. However, in the environment, bacteria are rarely exposed to single, but rather complex mixtures of selective agents. Here, we explored how the presence of a second selective agent affects selection dynamics between isogenic pairs of focal E. coli strains, differing exclusively in a single resistance determinant, in the absence and presence of a model wastewater community across a gradient of antibiotics. An additional antibiotic that exclusively affects the model wastewater community, but to which the focal strains are resistant to, was chosen as the second selective agent. This allowed exploring how inhibition alters the community’s ability to reduce selection.
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