The Human Health Implications of Antibiotic Resistance in Environmental Isolates from Two Nebraska Watersheds

Linsey Donner, Zachery R. Staley, Jonathan Petali, Jodi Sangster, Xu Li, Wayne Mathews, Daniel Snow, Adina Howe, Michelle Soupir, Shannon Bartelt-Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

One Health field-based approaches are needed to connect the occurrence of antibiotics present in the environment with the presence of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in Gram-negative bacteria that confer resistance to antibiotics important in for both veterinary and human health. Water samples from two Nebraska watersheds influenced by wastewater effluent and agricultural runoff were tested for the presence of antibiotics used in veterinary and human medicine. The water samples were also cultured to identify the bacteria present. Of those bacteria isolated, the Gram-negative rods capable of causing human infections had antimicrobial susceptibility testing and whole-genome sequencing (WGS) performed to identify ARGs present. Of the 211 bacterial isolates identified, 37 belonged to pathogenic genera known to cause human infections. Genes conferring resistance to beta-lactams, aminoglycosides, fosfomycins, and quinolones were the most frequently detected ARGs associated with horizontal gene transfer (HGT) in the watersheds. WGS also suggest recent HGT events involving ARGs transferred between watershed isolates and bacteria of human and animal origins. The results of this study demonstrate the linkage of antibiotics and bacterial ARGs present in the environment with potential human and/or veterinary health impacts. IMPORTANCE One health is a transdisciplinary approach to achieve optimal health for humans, animals, plants and their shared environment, recognizing the interconnected nature of health in these domains. Field based research is needed to connect the occurrence of antibiotics used in veterinary medicine and human health with the presence of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). In this study, the presence of antibiotics, bacteria and ARGs was determined in two watersheds in Nebraska, one with agricultural inputs and the other with both agricultural and wastewater inputs. The results presented in this study provide evidence of transfer of highly mobile ARG between environment, clinical, and animal-associated bacteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMicrobiology Spectrum
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Keywords

  • antibiotic resistance
  • antibiotics
  • watersheds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Ecology
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology
  • Infectious Diseases

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