The emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistance is of general concern worldwide. To understand the causal factors driving these processes, we need to identify and quantify antibiotic resistant determinants in natural ecosystems, such systems being both as a source and sink of resistance genes. The broader environmental prevalence of antibiotic resistance genes is in general poorly described. Moreover, the level of antibiotic-resistant bacteria may be used as a monitoring instrument to assess the quality and health of a given environment; where the level of resistance traits being correlated to anthropogenic pollution. Polluted freshwater sediments are of particular interest because they contain residues from multiple run-off sources.
This project seeks to: i) to assess the antibiotic resistance profiles of the bacterial communities associated to the rhizosphere of Phragmites australis growing in highly polluted water channels, ii) to examine the link between these data with the biodiversity of the micr obial communities as well as with data concerning the community structure (social), urban, land use and other characteristics of the sample sites.
To address these goals, 120 samples from highly polluted drainage channels were collected in proximity to the rhizosphere of P. australis stands in Zhangye city and in the Hetao Irrigation district (Northern China). Samples will be (as part of the YGGDRASIL Norway stay) examined for microbial diversity and antibiotic-resistance patterns. This research follows methodology previously established in the collaboration between the host institution in Norway and the PhD project leader in Italy (Brusetti et al. 2008. Microb. Ecol. Health Dis. 20, 27-36).