Two related salmonids, Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) and lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) sampled from the high Arctic region of Nunavut, Canada are anadromous fish, migrating annually from the same ice-covered freshwater waterbodies to spend summers in the marine waters of the Arctic Ocean. Microbiota associated with the skin-associated mucus undergo community change coincident with migration, and irrespective of this turnover, antibiotic resistance was detected in mixed bacterial cultures initiated with mucus samples. Although as expected most bacteria were unculturable, however, 5/7 isolates showed susceptibility to a panel of five common antibiotics. The fish were sampled under severe conditions and at remote locations far from human habitation. Regardless, two isolates, 'Carnobacterium maltaromaticum sm-2' and 'Arthrobacter citreus sm', showed multi-resistance to two or more antibiotics including ampicillin and streptomycin indicating multiple resistance genes. It is unknown if these fish bacteria have 'natural' resistance phenotypes or if resistance has been acquired. As result of these observations, we urge long-term monitoring of drug-resistant bacteria in the region and caution the assumption of a lack of drug-resistant organisms even in such extreme environments.
Environmental Microbiology Reports
Moniz, K., Walker, V. K., & Shah, V. (2021). Antibiotic resistance in mucosal bacteria from high Arctic migratory salmonids. Environmental Microbiology Reports, 1-6. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1758-2229.12975