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Access to the article is free, however registration and sign-in are required. D'Costa et al. provides a fascinating view of the flip side of this story. The authors isolated 480 morphologically diverse spore-forming microbes from the soil and tested these not as producers of antimicrobial agents but rather as microbes that are resistant to existing antibiotics. Astonishingly, they found that every isolate was resistant to at least six to eight different antimicrobial agents and some to as many as 20! The antibiotics tested included both well-established and recently developed agents, natural products, semisynthetic derivatives, and fully synthetic antimicrobial agents. Bacteria found in soils show robust resistance to many antibiotics. These protective mechanisms may offer clues for generating a new arsenal of therapeutic drugs.
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