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dc.contributor.authorHooban, Brigid
dc.contributor.authorJoyce, Aoife
dc.contributor.authorFitzhenry, Kelly
dc.contributor.authorChique, Carlos
dc.contributor.authorMorris, Dearbháile
dc.identifier.citationHooban, Brigid, Joyce, Aoife, Fitzhenry, Kelly, Chique, Carlos, & Morris, Dearbháile. (2020). The role of the natural aquatic environment in the dissemination of extended spectrum beta-lactamase and carbapenemase encoding genes: A scoping review. Water Research, 180, 115880. doi:
dc.description.abstractThe natural aquatic environment is a significant contributor to the development and circulation of clinically significant antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). The potential for the aquatic environment to act as a reservoir for ARG accumulation in areas receiving anthropogenic contamination has been thoroughly researched. However, the emergence of novel ARGs in the absence of external influences, as well as the capacity of environmental bacteria to disseminate ARGs via mobile genetic elements remain relatively unchallenged. In order to address these knowledge gaps, this scoping literature review was established focusing on the detection of two important and readily mobile ARGs, namely, extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) and carbapenemase genes. This review included 41 studies from 19 different countries. A range of different water bodies including rivers (n = 26), seawaters (n = 6) and lakes (n = 3), amongst others, were analysed in the included studies. ESBL genes were reported in 29/41 (70.7%) studies, while carbapenemase genes were reported in 13/41 (31.7%), including joint reporting in 9 studies. The occurrence of mobile genetic elements was evaluated, which included the detection of integrons (n = 22), plasmids (n = 18), insertion sequences (n = 4) and transposons (n = 3). The ability of environmental bacteria to successfully transfer resistance genes via conjugation was also examined in 11 of the included studies. The findings of this scoping review expose the presence of clinically significant ARGs in the natural aquatic environment and highlights the potential ability of environmental isolates to disseminate these genes among different bacterial species. As such, the results presented demonstrate how anthropogenic point discharges may not act as the sole contributor to the development and spread of clinically significant antibiotic resistances. A number of critical knowledge gaps in current research were also identified. Key highlights include the limited number of studies focusing on antibiotic resistance in uncontaminated aquatic environments as well as the lack of standardisation among methodologies of reviewed investigations.en_IE
dc.description.sponsorshipThis review was carried out as part of the AREST (Antimicrobial Resistance and the Environment – Sources, persistence, transmission and risk management) project which is jointly funded by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency and the Health Service Executive (Grant number 2017-HW-LS-1).en_IE
dc.relation.ispartofWater Researchen
dc.rightsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland
dc.subjectAquatic environmenten_IE
dc.subjectAntibiotic resistanceen_IE
dc.subjectExtended spectrum beta-lactamaseen_IE
dc.subjectMobile genetic elementsen_IE
dc.titleThe role of the natural aquatic environment in the dissemination of extended spectrum beta-lactamase and carbapenemase encoding genes: A scoping reviewen_IE
dc.contributor.funderEnvironmental Protection Agency, Irelanden_IE
dc.contributor.funderHealth Service Executiveen_IE
dc.local.contactBrigid Hooban, Clinical Science Institute, , Shantalla, , Galway. Email:
dc.local.copyrightcheckedOpen Access - APC paid (email from author 18/08/2020)

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