abundance, antimicrobial agents, drug resistance, environmental monitoring, farms, sediments, wastewater treatment, water treatment
AbstractThe environment plays a key role in the spread and persistence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Antimicrobials and antimicrobial resistance genes (ARG) are released into the environment from sources such as wastewater treatment plants, and animal farms. This study describes an approach guided by spatial mapping to quantify and predict antimicrobials and ARG in Minnesota’s waterbodies in water and sediment at two spatial scales: macro, throughout the state, and micro, in specific waterbodies. At the macroscale, the highest concentrations across all antimicrobial classes were found near populated areas. Kernel interpolation provided an approximation of antimicrobial concentrations and ARG abundance at unsampled locations. However, there was high uncertainty in these predictions, due in part to low study power and large distances between sites. At the microscale, wastewater treatment plants had an effect on ARG abundance (sul1 and sul2 in water; blaSHV, intl1, mexB, and sul2 in sediment), but not on antimicrobial concentrations. Results from sediment reflected a long-term history, while water reflected a more transient record of antimicrobials and ARG. This study highlights the value of using spatial analyses, different spatial scales, and sampling matrices, to design an environmental monitoring approach to advance our understanding of AMR persistence and dissemination.