Objectives

slide of stare overview

  1. Antiobiotics and resistance in European wastewater
  2. Advanced treatment technologies for the removal of antibiotics, antibiotic resistant bacteria and resistance genes from wastewater
  3. Effects of wastewater treatments on the microbiome and resistome
  4. Communication and dissemination and guideline development

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  1. Antibiotics and resistance in European wastewater

This objective aims to characterize the treated community wastewater (WW) in different European regions with respect to antibiotics and ARB&G. The methods and structure to be implemented are to be maintained beyond the project lifetime, allowing the continuous assessment of temporal and geographic AR evolution. The multidisciplinary approach, which combines chemical, microbiological and genetic analyses using harmonized protocols and a high number of treatment plants and replicates, will give a comprehensive picture of AR occurrence throughout Europe, inference on the treatment efficiency and conditions and other parameters influencing AR spread, such as the levels of antibiotics.

  1. Advanced treatment technologies for the removal of antibiotics, antibiotic resistant bacteria and resistance genes from wastewater

Because UWTPs represent a major source of ARB&G, the improvement of treatment technologies is a priority. This objective is aimed at the development of improved technologies to reduce the ARB&G. Specifically:

  • Maximize the removal of bacteria, as this will reduce the overall loads of ARB&G released to the environment;
  • Produce a final effluent that has undetectable levels of antimicrobial residues or its transformation products, other emerging chemical contaminants, ARGs, and pathogens (bacteria or viruses) and therefore is free of potential adverse biological effects;
  • Cost-effective for end-users in terms of implementation, operation and maintenance. These general objectives should be achieved simultaneously respecting the compliance with the limits set for the standard parameters for wastewater disposal or reuse (e.g., BOD, COD, TSS, N and P).
  1. Effects of wastewater treatments on the microbiome and resistome

WW treatment efficiency is often assessed based on a few standard parameters. However, the biological transformations occurring during these processes are still obscure to the scientific community, despite the importance of understanding how external conditions can be manipulated to minimize adverse effects. WW treatment technologies with highest rates of reduction of ARB&G are also those either imposing more severe stress conditions to microorganisms and/or presenting higher hydraulic residence times. Thus, despite the high removal rates, these stressful and/or long lasting processes can also select for the most harmful organisms, such as pathogens, specific ARGs or viruses. Hence, the most efficient advanced treatment technologies will result and the effect of possible stressors determined will be further studied in order to have a comprehensive assessment of the impacts that treatment has on the microbiota.

  1.  Communication and dissemination and guideline development

This objective will have the participation of all partners and aims at dissemination of outcomes of the project. Because the concept of “genetic contamination” of the environment by ARG is novel and antibiotic resistance concerns the whole population (it attracts high interest from the scientists, governments, public and press media), there will be a strong effort by the consortium members to promote educational, communication and dissemination activities directed to the public, stakeholders, policy makers, officials and students. The development of guidelines and recommendations based on the results of the project will be delivered to the stakeholders, policy makers, scientific community and the general public through the most efficient and interactive channels of communication. Because the results to obtain in this project will be also of interest to the scientific community, the standard ways of scientific communication (research papers, conferences) are also of course planned.

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