The project aims to improve the quality assessment of aquaculture practices and products by exploring the fate of antibiotic and microbial contaminants across the water cycle.
Contamination levels will be assessed from sources (effluents, river outflows) to end points (aquaculture plants) and final food products (e.g., fish fillets), along with the antibiotic resistome and pathogenic signature in farm surrounding aquatic environments in open (i.e., mariculture) and recirculating aquaculture systems (i.e., RAS). For mariculture only, the assessment of the same contaminants will be also performed in benthic biota beneath fish cages; moreover, in order to take into account possible seasonal variations, we will perform analyses at contrasting seasons (e.g., summer, generally characterized by a higher anthropogenic pressure, and winter, with a lower anthropogenic pressure). Novel early-warning tools for the rapid detection of antibiotic residues (flow cytometry-based), antibiotic-resistance genes (high-throughput sequencing-based), and microbial pathogens (sensor-based) in environmental and biological samples will be optimized.
ARENA will contribute to elucidate the significance of antibiotic-related issues, finally providing a cross-disciplinary approach for risk assessment and future operative efforts to mitigate the magnification of antibiotic resistance and pathogenicity in aquaculture settings.
- Gian Marco Luna, National Research Council – CNR, Italy (Coordinator)
- Frank Delvigne, University of Liège, Belgium
- Patrick Wagner, KU Leuven, Belgium
- Michael J. Schoening, University of Applied Sciences Aachen, Germany
- Sara Rodriguez-Mozaz, Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA), Spain