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.
* 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)
Lynn A. Nystrom | VT News
What happens in the cell nucleus after fertilization
06.12.2016 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering