A recent study screening over 1000 drugs has shown that non-antibiotic drugs (NADs), including human targeted drugs, have been shown to have antimicrobial effects on representative strains of human gut bacteria. NADs are present in both wastewater effluent and freshwater systems, where they may only be partially metabolised. Concentrations of antibiotics found in the environment have been shown to select for resistance in complex microbial communities, and it is thought that concentrations of NADs in the environment may also select for resistance. This project aims to determine if NADs select for antimicrobial resistance, by investigating effects in a complex bacterial community. Pharmaceuticals from 7 different drug classes have been screened for antimicrobial activity. The most potent compounds will be used in exposure experiments to identify any existing antimicrobial resistance genes that confer cross-resistance to both antibiotics and NADs using a metagenomics approach. In addition, changes in community composition will be investigated to determine if there is enrichment for opportunistic pathogens after exposure to NADs. This project ultimately aims to inform on environmental water quality standards and environmental risk assessment of wastewater treatment effluent in order to mitigate the growing problem of environmental antimicrobial resistance.


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