In light of their adverse impacts on resident microbial communities, it is widely predicted that broad-spectrum antibiotics can promote the spread of resistance by releasing resistant strains from competition with other strains and species. We investigated the competitive suppression of a resistant strain of Escherichia coli inoculated into human-associated communities in the presence and absence of the broad and narrow spectrum antibiotics rifampicin and polymyxin B, respectively. We found strong evidence of community-level suppression of the resistant strain in the absence of antibiotics and, despite large changes in community composition and abundance following rifampicin exposure, suppression of the invading resistant strain was maintained in both antibiotic treatments. Instead, the strength of competitive suppression was more strongly associated with the source community (stool sample from individual human donor). This suggests microbiome composition strongly influences the competitive suppression of antibiotic-resistant strains, but at least some antibiotic-associated disruption can be tolerated before competitive release is observed. A deeper understanding of this association will aid the development of ecologically-aware strategies for managing antibiotic resistance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics