Commenting on classmates discussions on Bacteria

In response to your peers, discuss the benefits and risks on human health by antibiotic use in livestock production.

Classmate # 1 Darren

An antibiotic is defined as a substance that selectively kills bacteria and not its host. There is no single clear way that an antibiotic has to do that so they can differ from one another significantly in the ways which they do so. Beginning with the most common, penicillin, it functions by inhibiting the construction of the cell walls of bacteria and, since humans do not have cell walls, we remain unaffected by it. More specifically one of the components of the cell wall a macromolecule called peptidoglycan is prevented from forming thus it causes them to be very fragile and burst.

Another method is to prevent the production of folic acid which all cells need yet it cannot diffuse through cell walls as it can for human cells so bacteria must make their own. Sulfonamides prevent an enzyme necessary to synthesize folic acid and by doing so prevent the bacteria from growing.

So to answer why an antibiotic works on bacteria and not humans the most general response is because they are selected for it mostly based off of differences between our cells and the cell walls distinct to bacteria.

Superbugs as described in the article are bacteria that have developed a resistance to the more common types of antibiotics. When bacteria are regularly killed off by penicillin, it is only the strong or resistant which survive and have a chance to spread. Ergo when doctors give patients antibiotics who don’t need it they are not helping the patient but still creating more opportunity for bacteria to become resistant. I do have a slight issue with that reasoning because if we are talking about harmful bacteria becoming resistant giving penicillin where there are no harmful bacteria it should have a null effect on said bacteria unless it is a concern of differing bacteria sharing traits.

Overmedication is a problem with health care across the globe. Being raised by a doctor who refuses to do so I cannot count the number of times I was sick and prescribed “drink plenty of clear fluids and get lots of sleep.” However I do know people who feel slighted if not given medication after a trip to the doctor and they insist unaware for the placebo effect of “OK I’ll swallow a pill and later I’ll feel better.” Its near impossible to know just how effective a pill was in a certain situation compared to if one were to instead just let the body heal itself, but I think it often that the ‘bugs’ we get are eliminated more from our body’s processes than the pills we swallow. I did once hear of a doctor who estimated that by the time a child is 8 years old he or she has fought off self-immunized around a 5000 different germs and viruses, most of them being not strong enough to make us feel significantly sick.

Classmate # 2 Tanya

Human cells do not have the bacterial cell wall necessary for the antibiotic to identify it as a threat .(Unlin. 2011) Bacteria does have a wall so the antibiotic is aware of where to go fight. Antibacterial’s fight off live bacteria. Antibiotics and other products with antibacterial purposes are intended to fight of bad bacteria or germs. They attack the cell walls. The germs or bacteria needing to be killed cause us illness. The problem is the antibiotics actually kill all bacteria both good and bad. The good bacteria is needed to help our immune system fight of bugs or viruses. The more we use antibacterial products like med’s and hand sanitizes, the less good bacteria we have to help us fight off germs.


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