Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Virginia Tech engineer identifies pollution as a new concern for antibiotic resistance

06.01.2011

When an antibiotic is consumed, researchers have learned that up to 90 percent passes through a body without metabolizing. This means the drugs can leave the body almost intact through normal bodily functions.

In the case of agricultural areas, excreted antibiotics can then enter stream and river environments through a variety of ways, including discharges from animal feeding operations, fish hatcheries, and nonpoint sources such as the flow from fields where manure or biosolids have been applied. Water filtered through wastewater treatment plants may also contain used antibiotics.

Consequently, these discharges become “potential sources of antibiotic resistance genes,” says Amy Pruden<http://www.cee.vt.edu/index.php?do=view&content=0&apps=2&level=2&id=17&pid=ea764b3d7ce4e619692fc864f6a5d628> (http://www.cee.vt.edu/index.php?do=view&content=0&apps=2&level=2&id=17&pid=ea764b3d7ce4e619692fc864f6a5d628), a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award recipient, and an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering<http://www.cee.vt.edu/> (http://www.cee.vt.edu/) at Virginia Tech.

“The presence of antibiotics, even at sub-inhibitory concentrations, can stimulate bacterial metabolism and thus contribute to the selection and maintenance of antibiotic resistance genes,” Pruden explains. “Once they are present in rivers, antibiotic resistance genes are capable of being transferred among bacteria, including pathogens, through horizontal gene transfer.”

The World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control recognize antibiotic resistance “as a critical health challenge of our time,” Pruden writes in a paper published in a 2010 issue of Environmental Science and Technology.

Pruden says reducing the spread of antibiotic resistance is a critical measure needed to prolong the effectiveness of currently available antibiotics. This is important since “new drug discovery can no longer keep pace with emerging antibiotic-resistant infections,” Pruden says.

Pruden who has developed the concept of antibiotic resistance genes as environmental pollutants has an international reputation in applied microbial ecology, environmental remediation, and environmental reservoirs of antimicrobial resistance.

In her work outlined in the "Environmental Science and Technology" article, she and her co-authors, H. Storteboom, M. Arabi, and J.G. Davis, all of Colorado State University, and B. Crimi of Delft University in The Netherlands, identified specific patterns of antibiotic resistance gene occurrence in a Colorado watershed. Identification of these patterns represents a major step in being able to discriminate between agricultural and wastewater treatment plant sources of these genes in river environments.

They assert that such unique patterns of antibiotic resistance gene occurrence represent promising molecular signatures that may then be used as tracers of specific manmade sources.

In their study they identified three wastewater treatment plant sites, six animal feeding operation locations, and three additional locations along a pristine region of the Poudre River, in an upstream section located in the Rocky Mountains. They compared the frequency of detection of 11 sulfonamide and tetracycline antibiotic resistance genes.

Their findings showed detection of one particular antibiotic resistance gene in 100 percent of the treatment plant and animal feeding operations, but only once in the clean section of the Poudre River.

As they are able to differentiate between human and animal sources of the antibiotic resistance genes, Pruden and her colleagues believe they can “shed light on areas where intervention can be most effective in helping to reduce the spread of these contaminants through environmental matrixes such as soils, groundwater, surface water, and sediments.

“This study advances the recognition of antibiotic resistance genes as sources to impacted environments, taking an important step in the identification of the dominant processes of the spreading and transport of antibiotic resistance genes.”

The Colorado Water Resources Research Institute and a U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Experiment Station provided funding for this study in addition to Pruden’s NSF award.

The College of Engineering<http://www.eng.vt.edu/> (http://www.eng.vt.edu/) at Virginia Tech is internationally recognized for its excellence in 14 engineering disciplines and computer science. The college's 6,000 undergraduates benefit from an innovative curriculum that provides a "hands-on, minds-on" approach to engineering education, complementing classroom instruction with two unique design-and-build facilities and a strong Cooperative Education Program. With more than 50 research centers and numerous laboratories, the college offers its 2,000 graduate students opportunities in advanced fields of study such as biomedical engineering, state-of-the-art microelectronics, and nanotechnology. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.

Related Links

* University researchers hope answer to cleaning up Gulf Coast lies in geometry<http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2010/08/083010-engineering-gulfcoastresearch.html> (http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2010/08/083010-engineering-gulfcoastresearch.html)

* Two engineering faculty chosen for National Academy of Engineering symposium<http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2008/07/2008-433.html> (http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2008/07/2008-433.html)
This story can be found on the Virginia Tech News website:
http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2011/01/010511-engineering-pruden.html

Lynn A. Nystrom | VT News
Further information:
http://www.eng.vt.edu/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>