The fate of Antimicrobial's in urban wastewater and its role in the development of antimicrobial resistance.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bath
Department Name: Chemistry


Antimicrobials have revolutionised medical care in the twentieth century. However the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an increasingly serious threat to global health care and it requires a multidisciplinary response to understand how to tackle AMR. In response to this threat to global health care The World Health Organisation has issued a global action plan on antimicrobial resistance.
This project aims to understand the fate and biological effects of antimicrobial agents and co-selecting biocides in the urban environment and the impact these process might have on the development of AMR. The project with focus on the aqueous environment in particular urban wastewater and the wastewater process as water is a well-known dissemination route for the distribution of both antibiotics and microorganism in the environment.
The project is inherently interdisciplinary and will combine expertise from environmental and analytical chemistry in conjunction with microbiology and water science while utilising cutting-edge bio-analytical approaches. Considering the importance that building a great understanding of the environmental impact of antimicrobial agents has on our understanding as to how AMR is selected for and transferred across microbial populations this project has the potential to lead to ground-breaking research with a long term scientific and social impact. It is therefore important to look at this project from with both an environmental and clinical perspective.
In the future stricter regulations of antibiotics in the environment are envisaged. The European Commission has recently proposed the inclusion of antibiotics on the Water List under the Water Framework Directive and the UK Water Utility companies have an active Chemicals Investigation Programme (CIP2) to quantify the environmental inputs of selected antimicrobials from wastewater outfalls across the UK. A full understanding of the fate of antibiotics and the selection for resistance in wastewater is therefore considered as a key priority.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509589/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1789298 Studentship EP/N509589/1 01/10/2016 31/05/2020 Felicity Caroline Elder
Description A laboratory work flow including analytical tools for the investigation of bacterial metabolism of antibiotics. Use of this work flow to investigate metabolism of an antibiotic by a number of environmental bacterial strains.
Exploitation Route The laboratory workflow can be used by others for the investigation of the bacterial metabolism of other compounds not just antibiotics
Sectors Environment,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

Title SFC-MS/MS method for chiral analysis of chloramphenicol 
Description A supercritical fluid chromatography method was developed and validated for the chiral analysis of chloramphenicol in trypic soy broth. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This assay will enable the investigation of chiral metabolism of chloramphenicol by different bacterial strains.