Evaluating the combined effects of environmental pollutants on the evolution of antimicrobial resistance

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Public Health and Sport Sciences

Abstract

Project Background

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the greatest threats to modern society. The environment is increasingly recognised as playing an important role in the evolution, emergence, and dissemination of AMR. Antibiotics enter the environment from a variety of sources, where they reside at low concentrations that have been shown to select for AMR. However, most research to date has only studied effects of single antibiotics, despite the fact antibiotics in the environment are found in complex mixtures with other pollutants that could co-select for AMR.

Project Aims and Methods

A growing body of research has demonstrated that the minimal selective concentrations of antibiotics can be very low, similar to concentrations of antibiotics measured in the environment. Antibiotic pollution may therefore select for antimicrobial resistance in the environment. However, many other environmental pollutants exhibit antimicrobial activity, and these may also generate a selective pressure that favours resistant bacteria. This project will explore the potential mixture effects of antibiotics and other pollutants on the evolution of antimicrobial resistance. We encourage applicants to be actively involved in the design and direction of the research.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
NE/S007504/1 01/10/2019 30/11/2027
2859345 Studentship NE/S007504/1 01/10/2023 31/03/2027 Emma Rossiter