Wastewater-Based Epidemiology for Monitoring Community Derived Antibiotic and Resistant Genes

Natalie Sims, Andrew Kannan, Elizabeth Holton, Kishore Kumar Jagadeesan, Ruth Barden, Barbara Kasprzyk-Hordern

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been hailed as one of the critical public health threats facing 21st century. The discovery and wide-spread availability of antibiotics since the 1970s revolutionised medicine, however overprescribing has resulted in the increased development of multi-drug resistance in pathogens. Current AMR surveillance within populations relies heavily on clinical data. This however covers only a small proportion of the community as samples are from those who have seeked medical aid, hence might not be representative of the wider population. Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) is a promising approach of sampling influent wastewater for biomarkers in order to give public health information on the population that has contributed. The analysis of AMR related biomarkers in WBE could therefore provide key spatiotemporal and comprehensive information on resistance circulating in communities giving complimentary information to current AMR clinical data. This study presents results from a year-long study in two catchment areas in the South-West if England combining the analysis of antibiotics, metabolites and resistance genes in influent wastewater to investigate AMR within populations. Using advanced analytical tools, chemistry and biological techniques have been combined together to give insight to the antimicrobial patterns and resistance of two communities Over 200 influent wastewater samples have been collected from two different catchment areas, with up to ten 24-hr composite samples from each site per month. Over 60 different antibiotics and metabolites covering a range of different classes have been investigated. Next generation DNA sequencing along with dPCR on seasonally relevant samples have given insight to the diversity of resistant genes present in wastewater. Catchment prescription data of antibiotics demonstrates seasonal prescribing patterns which is reflected from wastewater analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2021
EventSETAC Europe 31st Annual meeting: Global Challenges. An emergency for Environmental Sciences - Virtual conference
Duration: 3 May 20216 May 2021


ConferenceSETAC Europe 31st Annual meeting
Abbreviated titleSociety of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Europe 31st Annual meeting
Internet address


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