A new study is providing evidence that bacteria can fly thousands of miles through the air without depending on people and animals for transport. According to the experts, their new “air bridge” theory may explain how harmful bacteria have the same antibiotic resistance genes in common.
Study senior author Konstantin Severinov is a principal investigator at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology and a professor of Molecular Biology at Rutgers University.
“Our research suggests that there must be a planet-wide mechanism that ensures the exchange of bacteria between faraway places,” said Professor Severinov. “Because the bacteria we study live in very hot water – about 160 degrees Fahrenheit – in remote places, it is not feasible to imagine that animals, birds or humans transport them. They must be transported by air and this movement must be very extensive so bacteria in isolated places share common characteristics.”