Bacteria that protect against antibiotic-resistant pathogens identified

Researchers from the Foundation for Health Promotion and Biomedical Research of the Valencian Community (Fisabio), dependent on the Ministry of Health, identified bacteria in the intestinal microbiota that protect against antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

The study, carried out by the Microbiota, Infection and Inflammation research group, reveals that five strains of different bacteria in the intestinal microbiota deplete the nutrients needed for the growth of antibiotic-resistant pathogens, according to Fisabio.

With this research, conducted by Carles Úbeda and published in Nature Communicationsit was discovered in animal models that the consortium of bacterial strains of the genera Alistipes, Barnesiella, Olsenella, Oscillibacter and Flavonifractor, naturally present in the intestinal microbiota, deplete nutrients necessary for the growth of bacteria of the genus Enterococcus.

These pathogens, which are multiresistant to antibiotics, are especially affected by the loss of a type of sugar called fructose, which is commonly found in our diet.

In this way, the nutritional deficiency that pathogens encounter prevents their optimal growth and, consequently, protects the organism against infections.

Using mouse models, we show that administration of these commensal bacteria decreases the pathogen’s ability to colonize the gut.

Carles Úbeda, leader of the study

“Using mouse models, we showed that the administration of these commensal bacteria decreases the pathogen’s capacity to colonize the intestine, a fundamental step for the development of the infection and transmission between patients”, explains Úbeda.

multidrug resistant pathogens

These types of pathogens are among the third and fourth most prevalent causes of infections in hospitalized patients worldwide and can cause lethal outcomes due to their resistance to most currently available antibiotics, making treatment difficult.

For this reason, it is among the highest priority multidrug-resistant pathogens for which new therapies must be developed, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

For the development of the study, the Genomics and Health research group applied massive sequencing techniques of bacterial DNA (metagenomics) and RNA (transcriptomics), as well as the analysis of substances called metabolites (metabolomics) present in the tract. gastrointestinal.

This is a relevant finding, since antibiotic resistance is one of the most important public health problems today.

Carlos Ubeda

The results could lead to new non-antibiotic-based strategies to prevent infections caused by multidrug-resistant organisms.

“This is a relevant discovery, as resistance to antibiotics is one of the most important public health problems in today’s society”, concludes the researcher.

Officials from the La Fe Health Research Institute, the Applied Medical Research Center at the University of Navarra, the University of Lausanne, CIBER in Epidemiology and Public Health, and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne collaborated on the work.


Isaac, S., et al. “Microbiome-mediated fructose depletion restricts colonization of the murine gut by vancomycin-resistant Enterococci.” Nature Communications (2022)

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