Standardized One Health surveillance of antibiotic residues and antibiotic and heavy metal resistance in Baltic water environments and wild birds


Research Project: 2024-04-01 - 2027-03-31
Total sum awarded: €1 619 433

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance and monitoring in the One Health context calls for interdisciplinary and multinational, standardized approaches at the human-animal-environment interface. Several previous studies describe the occurrence of AMR bacteria such as multidrug-resistant (MDR) Enterobacterales and Pseudomonadales and AMR genes in one of the One Health dimensions including (wild) animals and the environment superficially. However, fewer efforts exist to holistically investigate the exact roles of wastewater treatment plants/surface water and wild birds as connected reservoirs for their global dissemination and spill-over. Here, we plan to investigate the occurrence of such bacteria, AMR genes, AMR in water-borne pathogens, and compound residues in water and wild birds across the Baltic Sea region, for which we have assembled experts from littoral states. By leveraging wild bird movement data and combining bacterial cultivation with genomics, qPCR, and phenotypic methodologies, we aim at analyzing water and wild bird fecal samples to characterize MDR bacteria in-depth, perform microbiological source tracking, assess the rates and fate of AMR genes, and elucidate different factors contributing to the spread of AMR, such as antimicrobial and heavy metal residues, and phenotypic resistance features. In summary, this is a proof-of-concept study of how to set up a standardized and reliable environmental AMR surveillance strategy in the One Health context.

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  • Katharina Schaufler, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Helmholtz Institute for One Health, Germany (Coordinator)
  • Karsten Becker, University Medicine Greifswald, Germany (Partner)
  • Jonas Bonnedahl, Linköping University (LiU), Sweden (Partner)
  • Ewa Kotlarska, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland (Partner)
  • Tanel Tenson, University of Tartu, Estonia (Partner)
  • Jonas Waldenström, Linnaeus University, Sweden (Partner)