Antibiotic resistance (AR) is a major health threat for humans. There is increasing concern that the environment may play a significant role as a reservoir and disseminator of AR. An important part of the dissemination of antibiotic resistance and the evolution of AR bacterial organisms depends on either intestines of animals receiving antibiotic treatment or water environments. In water, bacteria from different origins (human, animal, environmental) are able to mix in the presence of antibiotics or other pollutants such as heavy metals. Resistances evolve as a consequence of permanent exchange and ever new combining of genes, genetic platforms, and genetic vectors. Microbial organisms harbouring these genes are released into the water. At the same time antibiotics (often low concentrations), disinfectants, and heavy metals are disseminated into the water as well, and may act as selective factors fostering the evolution of new antibiotic resistances.
We study antibiotic resistance in human impacted environments with molecular methods such as array-qPCR, epicPCR, Inverse-PCR and metagenomics.
PI: Marko Virta