Installing dental amalgams into monkeys resulted in a sharp increase in the proportion of their GI tract (oral and fecal) bacteria able to produce volatile Hg(0). >80% of these mercury transforming bacteria were also resistant to several antibiotics because selection for the mercury transformation genes results in co-selection for whatever antibiotic resistances happen to be on the same plasmid; they are genetically linked.
Hg is released from amalgams in amounts sufficient to select for Hg resistant bacteria in the commensal microbiota and that the Hg resistance would be linked to antibiotic resistance genes. After amalgam placement, the primates showed a 10,000-fold rise in the Hg content of their feces. They also had a dramatic rise in Hg resistant bacteria in the oral and fecal bacteria.
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