About this Research Topic
Some natural ecosystems are inhabited by an extraordinarily dense population of microbes; this is the case of fermented foods and the intestinal tract of humans. The majority of the bacteria inhabiting these niches does not hold pathogenic determinants and play beneficial or non-deleterious roles, i.e. lactic acid bacteria through fermentation and production of metabolites in foods and commensal bacteria avoiding pathogen colonization in the human gut. However, they constitute a potential reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes that, under certain circumstances, could threaten human health.
Intrinsic and/or non-transferable resistance determinants in these bacteria could be useful to restore the gut microbiota after or during antibiotic treatment. However, these bacteria may also be a potential source of transferable antibiotic traits. Food associated bacteria and the human gut flora may carry many types of resistance genes that are linked to mobilizable genetic elements, such as transposons or plasmids enabling gene transfer within species or even within different genera. Gene transfer represents a major safety issue in case resistance genes are acquired by (potential) pathogenic bacteria. Within this context, in this Research Topic we will compile recent information related to potentially transferable antibiotic resistance determinates in non-pathogenic food and gut bacteria. Submissions are encouraged to highlight (1) novel discoveries on food and the gut as a potential reservoir of transferable genes, (2) transfer studies and (3) modeling gene transfer in food and the gut.