Advanced Water Management Centre

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Project Dates: 2016

Overview

Antibiotic resistance poses a major threat to public health. It is estimated that antibiotic-resistant infections will cause millions of death with an economy loss of $100 trillion by 2050 if current trends continue. Antibiotic resistance that evolved from mutations could be transferred from environmental bacteria to human pathogens through a process known as horizontal gene transfer.

Overuse and misuse of antibiotics are generally recognized as the key factors contributing to the spread of antibiotic resistance. However, whether non-antibiotic pharmaceuticals and personal care products can mediate the spread of antibiotic resistance via mutation and/or horizontal gene transfer is unclear. This project aims to investigate:

  1. Whether the exposure to non-antibiotic pharmaceuticals and personal care products can directly induce antibiotic resistance via mutagenesis.
  2. Could widely-used non-antibiotic pharmaceuticals and personal care products stimulate the horizontal transfer of antibiotic multi-resistance genes via conjugative gene transfer within and across bacterial genera.
  3. The effects of non-antibiotic pharmaceuticals and personal care products on the horizontal transfer of antibiotic multi-resistance genes via transformation.