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FRIMEDBIO-Fri prosj.st. med.,helse,biol

Flushing into the ocean: Tracking antibiotic resistance in the marine environment

Alternative title: Alt havner i havet : Spore antibiotikaresistens i det marine miljøet

Awarded: NOK 8.0 mill.

Wastewater contains a collection of stools from the population living in a specific area. Thus, samples of wastewater can be used for surveillance of antibiotic resistance in bacteria present in the population. Treated wastewater discharge also serves as an important source for contamination of the marine environment with antibiotic resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes. The Res-Marine project will help understand the role of the marine environment in spread and emergence of antibiotic resistance. In the project we will study wastewater effluents (collected by Bergen municipality), impacted marine water and sediments and unpolluted Polar regions, using repeated sampling and state of the art DNA-based methods like shotgun metagenomics, functional metagenomics and plasmid capture. The goal is to understand which pathogens and clinically important antibiotic resistance genes are present in the marine environment? In addition, we would characterize novel antibiotic resistance genes that have not yet been detected in human pathogens, in samples collected near wastewater discharge sites in the sea. The outcomes of the Res-Marine project will significantly enhance our understanding of antibiotic resistant pathogens and antibiotic resistance genes present in wastewater treatment systems (population) and the polluted coastal environments in Norway. The methods used and results obtained would serve as a basis for the local authorities to undertake appropriate research, monitoring as well as proper prevention and mitigation actions for stopping spread of antibiotic resistance.

Wastewater treatment systems in Norway rarely carry out disinfection, before discharge of treated effluents into the aquatic environments. Clinically relevant antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and resistant pathogens are disseminated into the environment via wastewater-related discharges, their fate in the environment, especially the marine environment, is largely unknown. The overall aim of Res-Marine project is to understand the role of the marine environment in dissemination and emergence of antibiotic resistance. The Res-Marine project will analyze wastewater effluents, impacted marine water and sediments, as well pristine Polar regions, using a time series sampling strategy and state of the art methodologies like genomics, shotgun metagenomics, functional metagenomics and plasmid capture; in order to understand the persistence of pathogens and antibiotic resistance genes in the marine environment. We will characterize novel antibiotic resistance factors and plasmids from the wastewater/sea interface that may end up in clinics in future. Further, we plan to design an assays for screening of identified genetic markers in the environment as well as build a computational model for understanding and predicting the dynamics of antibiotic resistance genes and antibiotic resistant bacteria in the marine environment. The outcomes of Res-Marine project will significantly enhance our understanding of antibiotic resistance in wastewater treatment systems and the impacted coastal environments in Norway. Data obtained in Res-Marine project would serve as a basis for the local authorities to undertake appropriate research, monitoring as well as proper prevention and mitigation actions and may provide a framework for surveillance of antibiotic resistance in the marine environment.

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FRIMEDBIO-Fri prosj.st. med.,helse,biol