Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New study by Virginia Tech engineer focuses on antibiotic resistance caused by environmental factors

21.01.2014
The World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control has recognized antibiotic resistance "as a critical health challenge of our time," said Amy Pruden (http://www.cee.vt.edu/people/pruden.html), a Virginia Tech environmental engineer who is credited with pioneering the concept of antibiotic resistance genes as environmental pollutants.

Pruden said 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 said.

Pruden is a 2006 National Science Foundation CAREER award recipient as well as a 2007 Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering honoree.

Pruden's unique expertise in characterizing environmental sources and pathways of antibiotic resistance has garnered her as lead of a new NSF RAPID grant to study the recent Colorado flood's effect on antibiotic resistance genes.

She will work with Mazddak Arabi of Colorado State University and Diana Aga of the University of Buffalo on the project that will improve the understanding of the role the watershed processes play in disseminating resistance.

For more than 10 years, this research team has monitored the watershed of the South Platte River Basin, southwest of Denver. "We have already generated a robust data set of antibiotic resistance genes and antibiotics, as well as a unique interdisciplinary watershed-scale approach for characterizing the land-use on their distribution," Pruden explained.

The recent Colorado flooding occurred during the week of Sept. 9, 2013, with flood waters affecting 17 counties over a spread of 200 miles north to south, transporting enormous loads of sediment and transforming the semi-arid landscape of the Front Range of Colorado.

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 releases become "potential sources of antibiotic resistance genes," said Pruden.

The overall goal of their new research grant is to take advantage of the knowledge gained from the flooding in Colorado to help clarify what mechanisms control the fate and transport of antibiotic resistance genes originating from wastewater treatment plants and animal feeding operations in the watershed.

"Our overarching hypothesis is that two main mechanisms drive antibiotic resistance gene dissemination: selection by antibiotics and/or metals and the transport via physical processes such as sediment transport," Pruden said.

Their method will be to compare the antibiotic resistance elements in water and sediment samples along a defined pristine-urban-agricultural river gradient from before and after the flood.

They will also compare antibiotics and metals in water and sediment samples along a defined pristine-urban-agricultural river gradient and examine the correlation with antibiotic resistance genes from before and after the flood.

"We believe our research will have vital implications for the development of effective policy and management practices to prolong the useful lifespan of antibiotics critical to human and animal health," Pruden said.

Emily Lipscomb, of Swanton, Md., an NSF graduate research fellow, will help carry out the project along with assistance from undergraduate students alongside the trio of faculty leading this work.

The College of Engineering (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
• New microfluidic chip can help identify unwanted particles in water and food (http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2013/07/070113-engineering-microfluidchip.html)

• Amy Pruden to spearhead $250,000 study on the building plumbing microbiome (http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2012/11/110112-engineering-prudenstudyplumbingmicrobiome.html)

• Virginia Tech engineer identifies pollution as a new concern for antibiotic resistance (http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2011/01/010511-engineering-pruden.html)

This story can be found on the Virginia Tech News website:
http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2014/01/012114-engineering-amyprudenantibioticresistance.html

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

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Researchers simplify tiny structures' construction drip by drip
12.11.2018 | Princeton University, Engineering School

nachricht Mandibular movement monitoring may help improve oral sleep apnea devices
06.11.2018 | Elsevier

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

NIH scientists illuminate causes of hepatitis b virus-associated acute liver failure

14.11.2018 | Life Sciences

The unintended consequences of dams and reservoirs

14.11.2018 | Earth Sciences

NIH scientists combine technologies to view the retina in unprecedented detail

14.11.2018 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>