Knowledge transfer strategies, networking and public engagement for a successful mitigation of risks induced by aquatic pollutants (AquaticPollutantsTransNet)

This transfer project is part of the AquaticPollutants projects’ family and accompany its research and innovation projects. It will support the funded projects in scientific communication and in the uptake of research results with the aim to increase their impact.

Ongoing project

Protecting all our water resources from pollutant inputs and the spread of pathogens is essential for a healthy environment, ecosystems, and our life! “Strengthen the European Research Area (ERA) in the field of clean and healthy aquatic ecosystems and to leverage untapped potential in the collaboration between the freshwater, marine and health research areas.” – That is the goal within the ERA-NET Cofund AquaticPollutants where the Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs) on Water, Oceans and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) are working closely together. To support the achievement of this goal is in the focus of the upcoming transfer project AquaticPollutantsTransNet.

Aims

The project aims to:

  • Improve stakeholders’ & citizens’ perception through active involvement in the reduction of aquatic pollutants in the water cycle,
  • bring aquatic pollutants to the public’s attention and improve social impact awareness and understanding of the advantages in their reduction,
  • realise the above by using innovative tools and by implementing engagement activities around the AquaticPollutants projects to foster societal embedding.

Key objectives

To support knowledge transfer, scientific networking, and public engagement on aquatic pollutants,the key objectives are:

  • identification of key stakeholders and their knowledge gaps,
  • development of innovative approaches for enhanced knowledge transfer and exchange,
  • create synergies amongst the AquaticPollutants projects and strengthen stakeholder collaboration,
  • foster the knowledge transfer from the research projects to stakeholders and its uptake,
  • implementation of multiple dissemination and exploitation routes with thematic (non-scientific) groups, political fora, scientific networks and citizens.

Project phases

The transfer project consists of two interacting phases:

  • Phase one aims (a) to identify key stakeholders and knowledge demands relevant to aquatic pollutants (CEC, AMR and pathogens) and (b) to develop innovative methods/strategies/tools to improve the transfer of scientific knowledge on aquatic pollutants to policy makers, the public, the health, agricultural and industrial sectors.
  • The aim of phase two is (a) to create added value by cooperation among the AquaticPollutants projects, (b) to strengthen collaboration with stakeholders and (c) implement innovative methods and channels for strategic transfer exploitation and uptake of results by communication to reach the relevant identified stakeholder groups.

Thus, AquaticPollutantsTransNet will follow a tailored dissemination, exploitation and knowledge transfer strategy with multiple dissemination and exploitation routes integrating standardisation, thematic expert groups, political fora, scientific networks and the public.

Once the project has started, we will keep you updated on our website and communication channels. The entire AquaticPollutantsTransNet team looks forward to cooperate and interact with you as funded projects, stakeholders, interested parties or individuals!

Contact: Thomas Track, Head of Water Management, DECHEMA e.V., Frankfurt/Main, Germany, thomas.track[at]dechema.de

Project partners

  • Dennis Becker, DECHEMA Gesellschaft fuer Chemische Technik und Biotechnologie e.V., Germany (Coordinator)
  • Gunnar Thorsén, IVL Swedish Evironmental Research Institute, Sweden
  • Nicole Baran, BRGM , the French geological survey, France
  • Pierre Strosser, ACTeon, France

Call

Marine Plasmids Driving the Spread of Antibiotic Resistances (MAPMAR)

Antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) are one of the most challenging contaminants of emerging concern (CECs). Instead of being directly produced by human activity, ARGs emerge as consequence of antibiotic use in clinical settings, and residual antibiotic contamination.

Ongoing project

ARGs spread through horizontal gene transfer and conjugative plasmids, because their ability to cross inter-species barriers, are key in this process. Recent findings revealed the existence of marine plasmids (MAPS) of global distribution and broad host range. These MAPS can transmit ARGs across oceanic distances, and may reintroduce them to human food chains via marine products. They are, however, different to classical plasmids from clinical settings.

MAPMAR uses metagenomics, data science and single-cell sequencing to obtain a catalog of most prevalent and transmissible MAPs. By testing methods to block their transmission, MAPMAR explores strategies to curtail the risk of oceans acting as highways for ARG propagation.

Project partners

  • Fernando de la Cruz, University of Cantabria, Spain (Coordinator)
  • Anne-Kristin Kaster, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany
  • Shay Tal, Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research (IOLR), Israel

Call

Consequences of antimicrobials and antiparasitics administration in fish farming for aquatic ecosystems (CONTACT)

Aquaculture is an important source for food, nutrition, income and livelihoods for millions of people around the globe. Intensive fish farming is often associated with pathogen outbreaks and therefore high amounts of veterinary drugs are used worldwide.

Ongoing project

As in many other environments, mostly application of antimicrobials triggers the development of (multi)resistant microbiota. This process might be fostered by co-selection as a consequence of the additional use of antiparasitics. Usage of antimicrobials in aquaculture does not only affect the cultured fish species, but – to a so far unknown extent – also aquatic ecosystems connected to fish farms including microbiota from water and sediment as well as its eukaryotes. Effects include increases in the number of (multi)resistant microbes, as well as complete shifts in microbial community structure and function. This dysbiosis might have pronounced consequences for the functioning of aquatic ecosystems.

Thus in the frame of this project we want to study consequences of antimicrobial/-parastic application in aquaculture for the cultured fish species as well as for the aquatic environments. To consider the variability of aquaculture practices worldwide four showcases representing typical systems from the tropics, the Mediterranean and the temperate zone will be studied including freshwater and marine environments. For one showcase a targeted mitigation approach to reduce the impact on aquatic ecosystems will be tested.

Project partners

  • Michael Schloter, Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen – German Research Center for Environmental Health (GmbH), Germany (Coordinator)
  • Gisle Vestergaard, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark
  • Timothy M. Vogel, Ecole Centrale de Lyon / Université de Lyon, France
  • Lior Guttman, Israel Oceanographic & Limnological Research, Israel
  • Susanne Rath, University of Campinas, Brazil

Call

Potential of decentralized wastewater treatment for preventing the spread of antibiotic resistance, organic micropollutants, pathogens and viruses (PRESAGE)

New approaches are needed to reduce the emission of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs). Some sources contribute strongly to suchemissions, which has driven the focus of PRESAGE on innovative decentralized wastewater treatment (WWT), based on anaerobic andaerobic compact systems.Ongoing project

An integrated analysis of the behaviour of organic micropollutants (OMPs), antibiotic resistant microorganisms and genes (ARMs/ARGs) and pathogens (viruses and bacteria) will be carried out. This will allow better understanding the relation betweenthe operational parameters of reactors, the microbiological evolution in the system, the removal of OMPs and pathogens, and thedevelopment of ARMs and ARGs. The contribution of such a complex mixture on the final effluent ecotoxicity will be assessed.The technologies will be validated at 4 demosites treating black and grey water, and effluents from hospitals and an antibiotic industry, inclose collaboration with the industrial sector. This high readiness level anticipates a good impact of project results on wastewater innovation. Experts in the field of advanced WWT, microbiology and ecotoxicology will strongly cooperate and participate in a mobility plan focusing oncomplementary skills.

PRESAGE impacts society and economy, boosting the water industry and protecting the environment from effluent discharges containing CECs. In the proposed treatment strategy a minimum global impact is targeted, preferentially promoting the onsite water reuse.

Project partners

  • Francisco Omil, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela (USC), Spain (Coordinator)
  • Marcelo Zaiat, University of São Paulo (USP), Brasil
  • Henrik Rasmus Andersen, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark
  • Eric Pinelli, CNRS/Institut National polytechnique de Toulouse (INP Toulouse), France
  • Thomas Ulrich Berendonk, TU Dresden, Germany
  • Luis Melo, Faculty of Engineering of Univ Porto (UP), Portugal

Call

Development a smart forewarning system to assess the occurrence, fate and behaviour of contaminants of emerging concern and pathogens, in waters (FOREWARN)

This project will assess the occurrence, fate and behaviour of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) and pathogens, and develop machine-learning methods to model their transfer and behaviour and build a decision support system (DSS) for predicting risks and propose mitigation strategies.

Ongoing project

FOREWARN will be focussed on CECs such as antibiotics and pathogens such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB), antibiotic resistance genes (ARG) and emerging viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2. The project will consider 2 types of case studies: 1) In-silico case studies will be selected from previous results, and dataset obtained in past or ongoing EU projects. Data will be used to develop the models and algorithms to feed and develop the DSS system to better understanding the sources, transport, degradation of CECs and pathogens and modelling their behaviour. 2) The adaptive DSS system will be refined and tested under real environmental conditions (6 months) to achieve TRL5 in real environment case studies.

Project partners

  • Esteban Abad, CSIC, Spain (Coordinator)
  • Leena Maunula, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • Sandra Martin-Latil, ANSES, France
  • Spyros Pournaras, Attikon University Hospital, Greece
  • Kevin McGuinness, Dublin City University, Ireland

Call

Probing Antibiotic Residues and Resistance Transfer in Aquatic Environments (PARRTAE)

The project aims to study bacteria, antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and antibiotic residues in groundwater, surface water, wastewater, marine water environments in the North Sea and the Atlantic including ports, and aquaculture facilities.

Ongoing project

Samples will be collected from sites with high and low suspected loads of antibiotic residues. Culture-based and sequencing-based methods will be used to identify ARGs. Transfer of ARG-containing plasmids will be analyzed using indicator bacteria Escherichia coli, Vibrio spp., and Shewanella algae as recipients. LC-MS/MS will be used to quantify the levels of different antibiotics in the collected samples. We hypothesize that local water microbiota, antibiotic residues, and recipient species will affect the type of plasmids transferred. The effects of the acquired plasmids on the physiology of our bacterial models will be analyzed in experimental lab systems, and their influence on fitness and virulence in a live host will be studied by host interactions in a shrimp (Artemia) model. The project will determine common ARG plasmids circulating in European waters and their inherent properties as a fundament to understand and prevent their dissemination.

Project partners

  • Åsa Sjöling, Karolinska institutet, Sweden (Coordinator)
  • Marc Heyndrickx, ILVO, Belgium
  • Olav Vadstein, NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
  • María del Mar Tavío Pérez, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain
  • Kartik Baruah, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden

Call

Antibiotic REsistaNce and Pathogenic Signature in Marine and Freshwater Aquaculture Systems (ARENA)

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.

Ongoing project

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.

Project partners

  • 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

Call

Reduction and assessment of antimicrobial resistance and emerging pollutants in natural-based water treatment systems (REWA)

The main goal of the REWA project is the strategic development and implementation of sustainable and cost-effective technologies for theremoval of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), metals, pathogens including antimicrobial resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistancegenes (ARGs) from water.

Ongoing project

The scientific and technological aims are to demonstrate 1) new concept in surface water treatment based onstate-of-the-art methods (nanocomposites coagoflocculation and pathogens removal, photocatalysis oriented to visible light catalysts, andtailor-adapted sorbents), 2) sewage effluent polishing with biosorbents and carbon-based nanomaterials, 3) the use of biocoagulants formetal-rich effluents.

The efficiencies of the treatment steps for removal of CECs and antibiotic resistance (ARGs, mobile genetic elements and bacteria) will be assessed. Mitigation of selection pressures for antibiotic resistance/co-selection potentials will be investigated. Special attention will be given to the raising of awareness via various channels and to the education by developing training material including an elearningcourse.

The REWA consortium brings together four RTDs and associate partners providing a multi-disciplinary approach with expertise onwater engineering, chemistry, materials’ synthesis and microbial ecology.

Project partners

  • Tiina Leiviskä, University of Oulu, Finland (Coordinator)
  • Kristian Koefoed Brandt, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Giora Rytwo, MIGAL- Galilee Research Institute, Israel
  • Bice Martincigh, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Call

Environmental Spread and Persistence of Antibiotic REsistances in aquatic Systems Exposed to oyster Aquaculture (SPARE-SEA)

Aquaculture has been identified as a gateway for antibiotic resistance (AR) spread, but little is known of AR in the oyster aquaculture environment.

Ongoing project

The biggest oyster aquaculture industry cultivates the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas, which is cultured in marine coastal areas that are often contaminated by AR determinants (antibiotics, resistance genes, and resistant bacteria) and other pollutants. Moreover, antibiotics are used in hatcheries, and since oysters accumulate bacteria, consumption of raw oysters can be a vector for AR into human microbiomes. Also AR transmission to other species threatens the safety of coastal marine systems, the sustainability of shellfish farming and human health.

By combining human, animal and environmental health, SPARE-SEA implements a One Health approach to identify environmental drivers and pathways of AR spread within and between environmental compartments including known and emerging pathogens. By investigating the cumulative effects of human use of coastal ecosystems along multiple gradients (e.g oyster farming intensity and agrochemical pollutant run-off) on the enrichment of AR in the oyster bio-reactor and its subsequent transfer routes within anthroposized coastal environments, we will link objectives of all three JPIs involved and can determine the future research lines in the field of AR in bivalve aquaculture.

Project partners

  • Mathias Wegner, Alfred Wegener Institut – Helmholtz Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Germany (Coordinator)
  • Delphine Destoumieux-Garzon, CNRS, Ifremer, Université de Montpellier, Université de Perpignan Via Domitia, France
  • Gianluca Corno, National Research Council of Italy (CNR), Italy
  • Luigi Vezzulli, Università degli Studi di Genova, Italy
  • Karl Andree, Institut De Recerca I Tecnología Agroalimentaria, Spain

Call

DisPersal of AntIbiotic Resistance and antibiotics in Water ecosystems and Influence on liveStock and aquatic wildlife (PAIRWISE)

PAIRWISE aims to advance knowledge of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as a pollution in aquatic environments, wildlife, and livestock.

Ongoing project

The project focuses on dispersal and dynamics of antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB), antibiotic resistance genes (ARG) and antibiotics (ATB) in aquatic environments affected by wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs).

Overall goals are to understand: i) dispersal of ARB, ARG and ATB in surface waters downstream of WWTPs, ii) carriage of ARB and ARG in livestock linked to surface waters influenced by WWTPs, iii) role of aquatic birds in dispersal of ARB and ARG. Issues from the Aquatic Pollutants call tackled by PAIRWISE include, but are not limited to: entry points and fate of ARB, ARG and ATB; identification of ARGs and ARB useful as indicators; providing insight to fate and transport of ARB, ARG and ATB to within and from aquatic ecosystems; and the role of aquatic birds in such events.

PAIRWISE will assess the influence of AMR in agricultural settings and improve understanding of the dissemination and sustainment of AMR in the interface between humans, wildlife, and livestock with a ‘One Health’ perspective. It will provide vital knowledge for policy makers and end-users, facilitating informed decisions on mitigation strategies.

Project partners

  • Stefan Börjesson, National Veterinary Insitute (SVA), Sweden (Coordinator)
  • Charles Masembe, Makerere University (MAK), Uganda
  • Pawel Krzeminski, Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Norway
  • Andy J. Green, Estación Biológica de Doñana, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (EBD-CSIC), Spain
  • Jonas Bonnedahl, Linköping University (LiU), Sweden
  • Olfa Mahjoub, National Research Institute for Rural Engineering, Water, and Forestry (INRGREF), Tunisia
  • Wejdene Mansour, Faculty of medicine Ibn Al-Jazzar Sousse (FMS), Tunisia

Call