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The REPARES team met in September in Leeuwarden for the European Water Tech Week 2022. The team also participated in spearheading plenary sessions on Antibiotic Resistance. We want to thank the organizers of EWTW2022 and one of our partners, Wetsus, European Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Water Technology. We are still committed to informing stakeholders, academics, and the public about Antibiotic Resistance and best practices for WWTP to reduce the flow of these emerging contaminants to the barest minimum.
According to the CDC, years of progress in combating antibiotic resistance were lost due to the covid 19 pandemic. The studies in the US showed increments in hospital infections (78% increase in carbapenem-resistant infections, 32% multidrug-resistant infections, 14 and 13% increase in vancomycin and methicillin-resistant infections, respectively). Unfortunately, this research indicates that this increase is likely in wastewater treatment systems as well. To combat this issue, more monitoring of vulnerable systems like WWTPs to see recent trends and data sharing amongst different countries is needed to have an overview of the extent of proliferation and how to combat it effectively.
A new study from the University of Bath supports what REPARES wants to help monitor and solve. The study demonstrated that different biological and chemically active agents we use in our daily lives that end up in the sewer lead to the spread of emerging pollutants, including antibiotic resistance. These agents move into bodies of water due to WWTPs lacking the ability to remove these emerging pollutants. Read more: https://www.labnews.co.uk/article/2091435/our-lifestyles-are-key-contributors-to-river-pollution-here-is-how-social-prescribing-can-help.
As part of the REPARES project, the Faculty of Biotechnology of the Porto Regional Centre of the Universidade Católica Portuguesa organized a workshop on ‘Water circularity: balancing challenges and opportunities' on the 3th of May.
The workshop was dedicated to experts and stakeholders in water treatment and analysis, finding ways to help solve antibiotic resistance in this sector. Participants, some of whom were members of the REPARES project, had the opportunity to discuss new and improved methodologies for detecting and quantifying the resistance genes and the application of these processes in real environments.
Bukola Lois Ojobe (a UCT-repares member) visited Wetsus under the REPARES mobility program for six months, from September 2021 to March 2022. She worked with Lucia Hernández Leal, Heike Smitt and Sam Rutten of the source-separated theme in the institute. She collaborated on the 'Integrity testing on NF membranes, detection of compromise and ARG proliferation during greywater treatment.' She was working on the cultivation of E.coli as a model indicator organism, detecting this organism during membrane compromise during wastewater treatment. She also worked on detecting ARGs in the system as well using qPCR. To fulfill REPARES' goal, she participated in the Ring test, an interlaboratory study to standardize ARG detection in wastewater.
Repares members attended the just concluded RESISTOMAP workshop titled ‘Monitoring antibiotic resistance in the environment using a high-throughput quantitative PCR system’ spearheaded by the Founder and CEO of resistomap Windi Muziasari, which was held on the 29th of March, 2022, in hybrid form. This workshop offered in-depth insight into monitoring antibiotic resistance in the environment, how the SmartChip qPCR system works, data analysis of results, an introduction to the resistapp used in real-time monitoring of antibiotic resistance, and an interactive laboratory tour for online participants.
The global leaders' group on antimicrobial resistance consisting of world leaders and subject leaders this month (March 2022) called countries across the globe to mitigate the dumping of antimicrobial waste into the environment. This mitigative process includes research and implementing various methods to ensure safe disposal of antimicrobial wastes from all sources. The group also called on countries to make the development of standards and regulations on the monitoring, release, and distribution of antimicrobials and agents of antimicrobial resistance into the environment a priority. In addition, the group focused on the manufacturing, human and animal health, and food sectors as the most critical industries when it comes to the release of these pollutants and holding these sectors accountable will reduce the 5 million antimicrobial resistance deaths yearly. Investors were also called on to invest in research and develop greener, cost-effective means of waste disposal.
For the second time, REPARES has a new paper published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials. We conducted a systematic review identifying mcr genes using the PCR technique. In addition, a new set of primers detecting mcr-1 – mcr-9 was proposed by the team in silico. The primers were validated by comparison with mcr genes already found in the literature. Overall, these novel new primers proved to be effective in detecting mcr genes in various environmental samples. For more information on this paper, please use this link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.127936
Today ends the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW), celebrated from 18th to 24th of November every year. The theme for this year is Spread Awareness, Stop Resistance which called for One Health stakeholders, policymakers, health care providers, and the general public to be Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Awareness champions. This shows the importance of antibiotic resistance and how we live our lives, interact with the environment and put efforts into stopping this problem. In line with this, REPARES renews its commitment to helping prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance in wastewater treatment plants. For more information, please use this link:
Our colleagues (Ivone Vaz Moreira, Joana Silva, and Célia Manaia) and other exceptional researchers published a well-rounded study on antibiotic resistance in wastewater focusing on Poland and Portugal. The study titled ‘Antibiotic resistance in wastewater, does the context matter? Poland and Portugal, as a case study,’ focused on both countries as areas with high prevalence of antibiotic resistance. They hypothesized and discussed trends based on antibiotic use and the abundance of antibiotic resistance agents in wastewater before and after treatment. For more on this paper please click this link: https://doi.org/10.1080/10643389.2021.2000828
We are excited as a consortium as HAZMAT has published our REPARES joint review paper. This review, titled ‘Monitoring antibiotic resistance genes in wastewater environments: the challenges of filling a gap in the One-Health cycle,’ delves deeply into threats, strides, issues, and future opportunities in the monitoring of antibiotic resistance genes in wastewater environments. Read the full paper via this link:
Last week, we had a three-day #bioinformatic and #metagenomic workshop. We talked about HQ #MAGs, #ARG, and #MGE in #wastewater samples!
We want to thank our partners from the University of Aalborg, the University of Warsaw, and TU Delft.
The UCT Prague REPARES group had a three-day bioinformatics course directly related to Antibiotic Resistance. Karol Ciuchcinki, a master's student from the Drewniak and Dziewit group of the Department of Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology at the University of Warsaw, Poland. He walked participants through LINUX Operating System, Using Python programing language and Bioinformatics.
Dear non-academic partner/John (please, insert the name of your potential partner or friend)
On behalf of EU-funded project REPARES, I would like to invite you to become part of our REPARES platform, which aims at advancing know-how on antimicrobial resistance in the urban water cycle.
Can we add you to our contact list?
The REPARES project aspires to bring excellence in research on the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in wastewater treatment plants through establishing cooperation between leading European innovators and internationally renowned experts of the water-related antibiotic resistance field. Currently, University of chemistry and technology in Prague, Universidade Catolica Portuguesa, Delft University of Technology, Aalborg University, and Wetsus, the European centre of excellence for sustainable water technology, are active members of this consortium. We want to grow and involve non-academic partners in the public and private sectors.
The REPARES platform – one of the main products of the REPARES project – will offer space for the exchange of know-how between academia, industry and public stakeholders, act as a melting pot for the creation of new ideas and projects, and facilitate education and public debate on the spread of antibiotic resistance. The main activities will include organizing seminars, workshops, and public events, forming inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary research consortia, and realizing joint ARG-related research on every level of complexity.
We would like to add you to our contact list, where you can get invitations to workshops, seminars, and other initiatives that are organized by (or in cooperation with) REPARES around the topic of AMR. For more information on these events, please visit our website http://repares.vscht.cz/. In addition, you may receive our regular newsletter.
Please let us know, whether you are interested in reacting to this email.
On behalf of REPARES
Part of the Repares, Wetsus, TU Delft, and UCT Prague team (Mark Van Loosdrecht, Lucía Hernandez Leal, Heike Schmitt, Roel Meulepas, and Bukola Lois Ojobe), attended the Wetsus Congress ‘Innovation for a fair and sustainable society,’ held on the 4th and 5th of October. We also met and discussed ARG detection topics with Windi Muziasari, the founder and CEO of Resistomap. Issues linked to antibiotic resistance and finding innovative means to stop excessive use and environmental discharge of ARB agents were discussed amongst other exciting topics.
Karol Ciuchcinki, a master's student from the Drewniak and Dziewit group (http://ddlemb.com/) of the Department of Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology at the University of Warsaw, Poland, came to UCT Prague for a short research stay as an extension of the collaborative relationship between UCT, Prague and UW, Warsaw. Karol deals with bioinformatic analyses focusing on antibiotic and metal resistance in metagenomic samples. He is also involved in a project that is geared towards creating a fast and easy-to-use bioinformatics software.
Karol's stay was to help deal with genomic and metagenomic data from nanopore sequencing, performing de-novo assembly, taxonomic and functional analysis, targeting antibiotic resistance genes. He also is helping to compare two different AR detection methods - traditional PCR-based detection and MALDI-TOF MS-based identification.
He took it upon himself to take a three-day bioinformatics course open to all UCT, Prague REPARES members, which was successfully executed.
The REPARES spring school on transferable skills for researchers was held once again online from the 26 – 28th of April 2021 and headlined by Lucie Pokorna, Stanislav Gajdos. The first day started with Lucie Porkorna (UCT, Prague) offering attendees practical information on the spring school. The next session ushered the attendees into the world of science and business, headlined by Lukasz Driewniak (University of Warsaw, Poland), who effectively displayed how to couple biotechnology. This interactive session brought about many questions on the business side of science, and Lukasz offered great insights. The last session on day one was about career management in the water sector, presented by Ondrej Benes (Veolia Water, Czech Republic). Ondrej highlighted how to move up the career ladder smoothly and make intelligent career choices in the water sector.
Day two had two information-packed sessions, the first delved into Negotiation skills presented by Jana Chaloupkova (TAVIA). This interactive session showed participants how to negotiate effectively in the workplace, and the second session was on effective email communication presented by Olga Strnadova (Educational Centre ACZ). Again, attendees were given insight on how to communicate effectively using email.
On the last day of spring school, a very interactive set of sessions was scheduled. They were focused on grant applications spearheaded by the TU Delft (Spearheaded by Associate Professor David Weissbrodt) team and supported by partner universities. Attendees participated in different breakout room sessions, learned from the best on accessing and winning all kinds of research grants.
A Part of REPARES secondment internships, researchers get involved in learning and contributing to understanding antibiotic resistance in the environment (wastewater) and finding solutions to stop or reduce its progression.
In this event, UCT, Prague, Czech Republic, and Wetsus, Leeuwarden, Netherlands, met again where Jan Bartacek (UCT), Lucia Hernandez-Leal (Wetsus), Dana Vejmelkova (UCT), Bukola Lois Ojobe (UCT), Sam Rutten (Wetsus), and Veerle Levering (Wetsus) met to discuss the collaborative opportunities for both groups in the subset of greywater treatment and recycling.
Bukola ‘Lois’ Ojobe, a 3rd Ph.D. student working on removing pollutants in greywater, will be moving to Wetsus for a six-month internship working with Sam Rutten, a 2nd year Ph.D. student, and Veerle Levering, a masters student focusing on the effective use of nanofiltration for greywater recycling.
Seminar on the methods for ARB detection organized by REPARES proceeded for three days from 25.1. to 27.1.2021 (10:00-12:45). On Monday (25.1.) we focused on the phenotyping cultivation methods for the detection of ARB. The introductory lecture about these methods was given by dr. Sabina Purkrtová (UCT Prague). Consequently, Assoc. Prof. Lucia Bírošová (the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava) demonstrated their use for the study of ARB in wastewater in her lecture brilliantly. An extremely interesting discussion followed these lectures, in which discussion we were able to welcome also Assoc. Prof. Helena Žemličková (NIPH CZ - National Institute for Health Protection). On Tuesday (26.1.) we continued with lectures on MALDI-TOF MS usage for the identification of microorganisms and the detection of SNP mutations in ARG. In these lectures dr. Sabina Purkrtová (UCT Prague) explained the principles and presented her practical laboratory experiences and protocols. The third and last day, Wednesday (27.1.). was devoted to MALDI-TOF MS again, but this time to its usage as the tool for the detection of antibiotic resistance mechanisms. Prof. Jaroslav Hrabák (Biomedical Center, Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen, Charles University) presented in his interesting and very broad lecture the history, development, principles, benefits, and limits of these applications. Ing. Milada Šolcová (UCT Prague) then presented her laboratory experience with MALDI-TOF MS detection of beta-lactamase activity. The very deep and vivid discussion then completed this seminar.
Introduction to the environmental dimension of antibiotic resistance
World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) 2020
Dana Vejmelkova is doing her short research visit (March-August 2020) at Wetsus, in collaboration with Lucia Hernandez Leal, Heike Schmitt, Rebeca Pallares-Vega, Eri van Heijnsbergen, and Bianca de Vries. Dana participates in the investigation of the spread of antimicrobial resistance in the Vecht river (part of the MEDUWA-Vecht(e) project). She evaluates the quantity of 24 antibiotic resistance genes in the catchment and determines the influence of WWTPs and agriculture.
“I am glad I joined the Wetsus team. Despite my visit happens during COVID-19 time, I am gaining many useful experience and skills. Next to the project meetings, we have weekly Antibiotic resistance group meetings where all participants share their progress and support each other. Wetsus also organizes many events and does its best to keep people (socially) connected (e.g. online “pub” quiz and workouts).
We would like to invite you to a conference organized within bilateral initiative shAMRock – shocking antimicrobial resistance. The conference will take place on 12th May 2020 at University of Chemistry and Technology Prague
Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are claimed to be hotspots for antimicrobial resistance and can be an important threat to human health. Antimicrobial resistance in WWTPs is even more dangerous as the resistance genes can be transferred from environmental bacteria to pathogens and create an even higher risk for the wellbeing of citizens. Therefore, scope of the conference is monitoring of antimicrobial resistance in wastewater treatment plants - approaches and methods, results and perspectives.
There is no registration fee
The authors cover their own costs (travel, accommodation, etc.) to attend the conference.
Procedure for Submission is described here https://tvp.vscht.cz/research/projects-grants/50582/50844?ecrof&jazyk=en#novinka_detail25803388051713.
Submissions are welcome from 1st March 2020 and must be received before 31st March 2020. The submitted abstracts will be peer-reviewed.
Notification of acceptance will be sent before 10th April 2020. At least one author of each selected paper must register and attend the conference to present the paper (poster or platform presentation).
Aleksandra Miłobędzka on 27th Jan 2020 started working with Célia M. Manaia, Ana Catarina Ferreira, Joana Silva, Ivone Vaz-Moreira, Jaqueline Rocha and Adrian Górecki at UCP Porto during short research visit „Developments on the monitoring of the antibiotic resistance and associated genetic elements in environmental samples“. Aleksandra will stay at UCP till the end of April, till that time she is going to optimize protocol for IS26 in activated sludge using qPCR, get familiar with UCP’s research groups and labs, collaborate in great, sunny atmosphere and enjoy Portuguese culture.
On January 21-23, 2020, REPARES Seminar 1" on the DNA isolation took place in Delft, The Netherlands.
The seminar was hosted by David Weissbrodt and Mark Van Loosdrech from the Faculty of Applied Sciences of TU Delft. The practical part was guided by David Calderon and Ben Abbas.
Invited speakers Bruno Bicudo Perez, Ron Dirks, and Thomas Abeel gave an excellent insight on antibiotic resistance in water matrices.
On Tuesday, October 1, 2019, all 5 partners of the newly launched REPARES project have met at the UCT Prague for their Kick-off meeting.
Members from UCT Prague, TU Delft, Aalborg University, Universidade Catolica Portuguesa and Wetsus company have met to discuss their point of view on antibiotic resistance in wastewater and successfully started their new Horizon 2020 Twinning project.