'Stunning' video shows E. coli develop antibiotic resistance in matter of days

It took E. coli just 11 days to develop resistance to high doses of antibiotics, and researchers from Boston-based Harvard Medical School and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology caught the whole thing on video.

The group constructed a giant, 2-foot by 4-foot petri dish and filled it with agar, a substance used to nourish bacteria as they grow. They then divided the dish into sections — the outermost section had no antibiotics, the next section had a small amount, with doses growing larger until the center had 1,000 times the amount of antibiotic as the area with the lowest dose.

They placed E. coli in the outer section, turned on the camera, and waited.

It took the E. coli roughly 11 days to mutate and reach the innermost section. See the video below.

"This is a stunning demonstration of how quickly microbes evolve," said Tami Lieberman, a co-investigator who was a graduate student in the lab during the research and is now a postdoctoral research fellow at Cambridge, Mass.-based MIT.

"It's…a powerful illustration of how easy it is for bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics," said Roy Kishony, PhD, with Technion.

Find out more about the study here. The research was published in the Sept. 9 issue of Science.

More articles on antibiotic resistance:
Researchers successfully use bacterial viruses to fight C. diff infections
Fourth untreatable superbug case in US detected in Connecticut
Study: Antibacterial ingredients in dust linked to antibiotic resistance

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