EMBLAS-Plus: researchers discover antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the Black Sea

EMBLAS-Plus: researchers discover antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the Black Sea

February 2, 2022

The antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) were detected in all water samples from the Black Sea studied within the framework of the EU-UNDP project – ‘Improving environmental monitoring in the Black Sea’ (EMBLAS-Plus). 

The distribution of ARGs was investigated in Black Sea water samples at a region-wide scale, including river banks and offshore areas – on a transect from the northwest bank (near Danube Delta) to the eastern bank (coast of Georgia). Researchers studied ARGs targeting a wide spectrum of antibiotics (beta-lactams, macrolides, glycopeptides, colistin).

The number of ARGs inactivating beta-lactams and vancomycin were the highest. The researchers paid special attention to the elevated number of the colistin resistance mcr-1 gene, as it was reported in Black Sea microbial communities for the first time. The scientists suspect that the potential sources of ARGs in the Black Sea are: the sewage inflow and, to a lesser extent, the use of veterinary pharmaceuticals. Other potential sources are riverine.

The results of the study are presented in the  ‘Antibiotic Resistance in Black Sea Microbial Communities’ paper, accepted for publication by ‘Frontiers in Environmental Science’. 

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, and will be emerging as one of the major causes of death in the coming decades. 

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