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 World’s Largest Study on Allergic Rhinitis Reveals new Risk Genes
17.07.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Plant mothers talk to their embryos via the hormone auxin
17.07.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microscopic trampoline may help create networks of quantum computers

17.07.2018 | Information Technology

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier

17.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

The role of Sodium for the Enhancement of Solar Cells

17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>