Air pollution leads to more drug resistant bacteria, study findsPress Association
Friday 3 March 2017 00.03 GMT
Black carbon found in air pollution can increase the resistance of bacteria that cause respiratory disease, research has found.
The discover could lead to a greater understanding of the effects of air pollution on human health, according to the lead scientist of the University of Leicester study.
The four-year investigation focused on how pollution in the air, which is thought to be responsible for millions of deaths each year, affects bacteria in the nose, throat and lungs of humans.
It found black carbon, produced when diesel, biomass and biofuels are burned, changes the way bacteria grow, possibly affecting their ability to survive and beat human immune systems.
The study concluded that the resistance of communities of Streptococcus pneumoniae – a major cause of respiratory diseases – to penicillin was increased by black carbon. It also caused this pathogen to spread from the nose down the respiratory tract, allowing disease to develop.