Discipline: Biological Sciences
Room: Exhibit Hall
Allissa Riley - Virginia State University
Co-Author(s): Shobha Sriharan and Chyer KimDepartment of Agriculture; Agricultural Research Station, Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA 23806
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a public health threat predicted to cause 10 million deaths annually by 2050. While the environmental component is speculated to contribute to the prevalence of AMR bacteria, many dimensions of environmental antibiotic pollution and resistance are still unknown and require further research. This research hypothesizes the prevalence difference of AMR in our environment. Therefore, the present study aims to assess the environmental impact on the prevalence difference of AMR in Escherichia coli isolated from different characteristics of environmental samples.Environmental samples, including livestock, waterfowls, wastewater treatment facilities, and drainage areas of different land use systems (crop, forest, grass, and urban land), were obtained from Central Virginia between August 2020 and February 2021. At least ten typical E. coli colonies with magenta color on modified membrane-thermotolerant E. coli (mTEC) agar plates from each sample source were randomly selected using the current standard EPA Method 1603. They were confirmed using the API 20E biochemical test. A total of 537 E. coli were isolated from the environmental samples. As of September 14, 2022, 253 isolated E. coli were tested for their susceptibility to 12 antimicrobial agents approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for clinical use. Approximately 8% of the tested E. coli were resistant to five antimicrobials. Of the isolates, 85% were non-susceptible (either resistant or intermediate) to at least one antimicrobial. Further analysis is underway to assess the environmental impact on the prevalence difference of AMR in E. coli. Findings will identify hotspots of AMR emergence and dissemination, which would help find the mitigation targets. This study documents the first effort to that end in the US.This study demonstrates the risk of environments as a natural habitat for AMR E. coli. The findings will be helpful for policymakers and researchers to identify gaps in knowledge about the links between AMR and the environment. The research is regional in execution but has national relevance because it portrays a scalable and integrated ABR research model to understand E. coli ecology in our environment.Continued research efforts on a larger scale are needed to confirm the environmental impact on the prevalence difference of AMR in bacteria. Further research is recommended to determine the cause(s) of the observed prevalence of AMR in bacteria in relation to the environment and their genomic relatedness.ReferencesSamreen, I.A., Malak, H.A., & Abulreesh, H.H. 2021. Environmental antimicrobial resistance and its drivers: a potential threat to public health. Journal of Global Antimicrobial Resistance. 27:101-111. Stanton, I.C., Bethel, A., Leonard, A.F.C., Gaze, W.H., & Garside, R. 2020. What is the research evidence for antibiotic resistance exposure and transmission to humans from the environment? A systematic map protocol. Environmental Evidence. 9:12.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): The authors are thankful to Drs. Guolu Zheng and Claire Baffaut from the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (Lincoln University) and USDA ARS (Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research Unit, University of Missouri) for identifying representative area of land uses for water sample collection. The authors also acknowledge Ms. Catherine Baxley and Ms. Abeer Abujamous of VSU ARS for media preparation and technical help. The student author thanks for funding of her summer internship to the NSF/ HBCU-UP grant. Thanks are extended by Dr. Guolu Zheng to USDA Grant.
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Shobha Sriharan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: I prepared all the necessary material including, media for this experiment. I grew the bacteria and tested for the prevalence difference of antimicrobial resistance in the bacteria. I also conducted statistical analysis.