Modelling AMR in Water
Over the last century, antimicrobials have revolutionized medicine and enabled the prevention of bacterial infections that were previously deemed untreatable. However, bacteria have also developed resistance to antimicrobials through various mechanisms. When the resistant bacteria find their way into terrestrial and aquatic environments, animal and human exposure to these resistant pathogens increases (e.g., via polluted soil, food and water), and health risks multiply. Antimicrobial use by humans in livestock production, aquaculture farming, and crop agriculture are primary loadings of antimicrobials, antimicrobial resistant bacteria (ARB) and antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) to the natural environment. The genes conferring resistance and selection pressure from antimicrobials and their amplification in the environment primarily depend on the local or regional antimicrobial use and other environmental factors such as climate, improper waste treatment and disposal, etc. Water quality modelling can play a crucial role in evaluating how these factors and processes could influence the resistance evolution, spread, fate and transport. However, the current knowledge on water quality modelling to evaluate antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in aquatic environments is in very early stages. This project aims to address and understand the fate and transport of ARB, and the transfer mechanisms of ARGs in aquatic environments, which is critical for evaluating and mitigating the risks of infectious diseases. In this project, we review current modelling knowledge, research gaps, and priorities for developing efficient models to assess the fate and transport of ARB and ARGs in aquatic environments. The project also focuses on understanding how different environmental processes that could shape the ARB and ARGs survival, fate, and transport on a spatio-temporal scale of a watershed or river basin. This knowledge and research priorities developed within the project can provide background thinking for new model modules development to assess the emergence and spread of AMR and further tackle the emerging issue of AMR.