In the water in the clouds are bacteria, according to recent research.
In the Puy de Dôme, researchers climbed to the top of a volcano and sucked water from the clouds. If the scene looks like a children’s tale, it is not: it is in fact a study to understand the concentration of bacteria in clouds, and more particularly the role of the atmosphere in the antibiotic resistance. They explain the results of their analysis in a study published at the end of March in the journal Science Direct.
Scientists analyzed the water coming from 12 clouds for 2 years, from the Puy de Dôme meteorological station (1465m). In this sampled water, scientists found a very large number of bacteria, with concentrations that vary enormously depending on the clouds. Sometimes it was 300 bacteria per litre, but it could go up to 30,000. But that’s not all they found in their samples…
Dispersion of antibiotic resistant genes
There was also a certain type of gene, resistant to antibiotics. Human (especially veterinary) activity has spread antibiotics to crops and soils, and indeed to the water in the clouds. They and realized that it gave birth to antibiotic resistant genes, and that they were lodged in the clouds.
The problem is not so much that they are there, but rather the fact that the clouds scatter them when it rains : “Our study demonstrates that the atmosphere is a pathway for the dispersal of antibiotic resistance genes, including over long distances,” stipulates the study using a diagram showing the water cycle. This would contribute to humans becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, giving microorganisms more “edge”.
Source: Science Direct