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Impacts of Low-dose Exposure to Antibiotics Unveiled in Zebrafish Gut

An antibiotic commonly found at low concentrations in the environment can have major impacts on gut bacteria, report researchers at the University of Oregon.  The study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, applied three-dimensional microscopy to nearly transparent zebrafish to show how weak levels of antibiotics induce structural changes in gut bacterial communities that cause severe drops in the bacterial populations.  “Low levels of antibiotics are often found as environmental contaminants, for example from widespread use in raising livestock,” said Raghuveer Parthasarathy, a professor of physics and member of the UO’s Institute of Molecular Biology. “It’s known that weak antibiotics can dramatically alter the human gut microbiome, but why this happens has been a mystery.”  Zebrafish larvae are a good model for tackling the mystery, Parthasarathy said, because they share many anatomical similarities with humans and other vertebrates, and their intestinal microbes can be directly observed.  Read more.....



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