Influence of anthropogenic pollution on the prevalence, maintenance and spread of antibiotic resistance in aquatic microbial communities

Subirats Medina, Jessica
This Thesis demonstrates that microorganisms derived from wastewater are the 2/2 main contributors to antibiotic resistance (AR) in the environment. Once there, the background chemical contamination with antibiotic residues and other pharmaceutical compounds set the optimal conditions for the accumulation and spread of resistance genes among resident bacterial communities. We also prove that nutrients, in combination with emerging contaminants, act synergically on the dissemination of some antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) within bacterial communities. According to our results, streambed biofilms appear as useful biosensors of the effect of wastewater discharges on the prevalence of AR in surface waters. Finally, we also proved that bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria) accumulate ARGs and thus they may have an important role on the dissemination of AR in aquatic environments ​
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