‘super-bug’a nickname, generally used in biological terms to refer to specific BACTERIA with one or more enhanced phenotypic properties beyond those which are usual and that may produce detrimental effects. Examples include:
- (a) bacterial strains resistant to many different antibiotics (see MULTIPLE DRUG RESISTANCE), such as multiply resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Such super-bugs render many drugs useless in combating the infections caused by these organisms and sometimes defy the last line of antibiotic defence.
- (b) Extremely radiation-resistant Deinococcus radiodurans, surviving doses that would kill most bacteria; and
- (c) the genetically modified bacterium of the genus Pseudomonas developed by A.M. Chakrabarty and capable of degrading multiple hydrocarbons, for use in clearing oil spills.
Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005