This NERC-funded, £1.5 million project is analysing the contribution of wastewater treatment and associated effluent to environmental reservoirs of antibiotic resistant pathogens. It is focusing on the molecular ecology of resistance genes themselves.
The natural environment is a major reservoir of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and rivers might play an important role in the spread and evolution of resistance.
Yet key questions remain unanswered and this project will explore several crucial areas:
What is the fate of antibiotic resistance bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes from wastewater treatment discharge andother diffused pollution sources?
Are antibiotic resistance bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes enriched (selected) or persisted and diminished in rivers that contain polluted residues of antibiotics, biocides and other industrial pollutants?
If the answer to the above is ‘yes’, what are the minimal selective concentrations of antibiotics and antimicrobial biocides and how have they evolved over time and under different conditions?
This study will perform both in situ and in vitro experiments to examine these questions, using molecular technologies to analyse experimental samples.