The quantitative measurement of antimicrobial resistance in Escherichia coli at the meta-population level (meta-population analysis)

R W Humphry, D Blake, D Fenlon, G Horgan, J C Low, G J Gunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: To define a method that describes antimicrobial resistance of meta-populations of bacteria in both a quantitative and biologically meaningful way.

Methods and Results: Using spiral plating and colony counting technology we obtained, from animal faecal samples, the density of Escherichia coli that grow at different concentrations of antibiotic. A mathematical description of this dose-response curve fitted the data well. The parameters of this model have biological meaning and the model allowed subtle differences between meta-populations to be detected.

Conclusions: This method, termed MPA (meta-population analysis), is practical and provides a useful quantitative description of antimicrobial resistance in a bacterial meta-population.

Significance and Impact of the Study: This study shows that resistance can be defined quantitatively. The method may be used in many epidemiological and clinical studies of antimicrobial resistance in animals and humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-330
Number of pages5
JournalLetters in Applied Microbiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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