Emily Stone

Emily Stone

Examining Waterways Near UF Campus for Antimicrobial Resistance

Authors

Emily Stone, Julie L. Meyer, and Alexander J. Reisinger

Mentor

Julie Meyer

College

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Abstract

Within a biofilm, water-borne microbes can more easily exchange resistance genes than planktonic microbes and display an increased rate of resistance compared to their free-living counterparts. Biofilms are of critical importance to the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the aquatic environment. The growth of biofilms is typical, yet their development can be further induced by the subclinical presence of antibiotics from anthropogenic sources including effluent released from wastewater treatment plants (WTTPs). While resistance to antibiotic compounds is natural in some microbial species, the universal development and administration of clinical antibiotics has greatly increased the scope and severity of resistance. Previous work worldwide has confirmed the presence of clinical antibiotics and AMR species in major waterways. We collected biofilms from the Sweetwater Branch Creek to confirm the presence of AMR genes at sites upstream and downstream of the GRU Main Street Water Reclamation Facility. We used R2A agar inoculated with ampicillin, methicillin, or vancomycin to screen for colonies that may harbor AMR genes and conducted colony counts for four days. We randomly selected resultant colonies for genetic amplification via colony PCR and gel electrophoresis to test for three previously characterized resistance genes: ampC (for ampicillin), vanA (for vancomycin), and mecA (for methicillin). We report only two colonies which displayed AMR genes: a downstream isolate which was resistant to ampicillin and an upstream isolate which was resistant to vancomycin. Our preliminary findings indicate that small amounts of resistance are present in Gainesville waterways, though further analysis may better illuminate local dynamics.

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