Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Antibiotic resistance flourishes in freshwater systems

Date:
April 25, 2012
Source:
McMaster University
Summary:
Researchers have now discovered that floc – “goo-like” substances that occur suspended in water and that host large communities of bacteria – also contain high levels of antibiotic resistance.

Christopher Drudge, a PhD student, collecting a sediment core at the agricultural site in Guelph, Ontario.
Credit: Image courtesy of McMaster University

The author Dr. Seuss may have been on to something when he imagined that microscopic communities could live and flourish on small specs of dust, barely visible to the naked eye. In fact, such vibrant communities exist -- in a material with a Seussical sounding, yet scientific name called 'floc'.

McMaster University researchers have now discovered that floc -- "goo-like" substances that occur suspended in water and that host large communities of bacteria -- also contain high levels of antibiotic resistance.

"This has important public health implications because the more antibiotic resistance there is, the less effective our antibiotic arsenal is against infectious diseases," said Lesley Warren, the principal investigator for the study that looked at floc in different freshwater systems.

The research was led by Warren, professor of earth sciences and Gerry Wright, scientific director of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, both of McMaster, along with Ian Droppo, a research scientist at Environment Canada.

They examined floc collected from Hamilton Harbour, which is impacted by sewer overflow; Sunnyside Beach in Toronto, which is impacted by wastewater; a rural stream near Guelph, impacted by light agricultural activities; and a remote lake in a natural preserve area in Algonquin Park, accessible only by float plane.

Researchers analyzed the water and floc samples for trace element concentrations and the presence of 54 antibiotic resistant genes.

They were surprised to discover that genes encoding resistance to clinically relevant antibiotics were present in floc bacteria at all four sites, although resistance varied in intensity based on human influence. That is, there was less antibiotic resistance detectable from Algonquin Lake compared to Hamilton Harbour, which harbored the highest concentration of floc trace elements.

"What this tells us is that antibiotic resistance is widespread in aquatic environments ranging from heavily impacted urban sites to remote areas," said Warren. "Yet, it also demonstrates that areas with greater human impact are important reservoirs for clinically important antibiotic resistance.

Floc are vibrant microbial communities that attract contaminants such as trace metals that are markers of resistance, Wright said.

Warren added the study of antibiotic resistance in floc has never been done, "and we are only scratching the surface. The presence of environmental bacterial communities in aquatic environments represents a significant, largely unknown source of antibiotic resistance," she said. "The better we understand what is out there, the better we can develop policies to safeguard human health as best we can."

The research has been published in the science journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Funding for the study was received from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and Environment Canada.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McMaster University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Christopher N. Drudge, Amy V.C. Elliott, Janina M. Plach, Linda J. Ejim, Gerard D. Wright, Ian G. Droppo, and Lesley A. Warren. Diversity of integron- and culture-associated antibiotic resistance genes in freshwater floc. Appl. Environ. Microbiol., 2012 DOI: 10.1128/%u200BAEM.00405-12

Cite This Page:

McMaster University. "Antibiotic resistance flourishes in freshwater systems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120425140121.htm>.
McMaster University. (2012, April 25). Antibiotic resistance flourishes in freshwater systems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120425140121.htm
McMaster University. "Antibiotic resistance flourishes in freshwater systems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120425140121.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins