Antibiotic Resistance Along the Danube: Biofilm in River as a Possible Reservoir of Resistance

New findings on antibiotic resistance (ABR) and faecal pollution along the entire course of the Danube have been published. Researchers from the Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences and the ICC Water & Health* are in charge.
By: PR&D
KREMS, Austria - May 8, 2024 - PRLog -- Two new scientific studies to understand the spread of antibiotic resistance (ABR) along the Danube have produced important key findings: Biofilms present in the river may be better indicators than the water itself of the entry of antibiotic-resistant bacteria from clinical facilities and wastewater. In addition, a new investigative concept – combining molecular genetic methods for ABR detection with modern diagnostics for faecal pollution and key environmental and chemical parameters – has shown that human faecal contamination is the main source of ABR along the entire Danube. The new approach allows the spatio-temporal dynamics of ABR in rivers to be recorded, hotspots to be identified and the main drivers of ABR to be determined.

Every year, thousands of people in Europe die from infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These are alarming figures, partly due to the development of resistance caused by the overuse of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture. Globally, the 'clinical environment' (e.g. hospitals) is considered to be the main hotspot for the spread and development of ABR, as this is where antibiotic-resistant bacteria or their genes are exchanged between patients. Clinical wastewater enters natural aquatic ecosystems via sewage treatment plants, allowing ABR bacteria to enter rivers and lakes. There they are not only found in the water itself, but also in biofilms – communities of microorganisms that adhere to solid surfaces in the water, such as rocks, plants or sediments, producing a common layer of mucus (extracellular matrix) and thus form a stable "film".

Scientific Contact

Prof. Andreas Farnleitner

Prof. Alexander Kirschner

Water Quality and Health Division

Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences

Dr.-Karl-Dorrek-Straße 30

3500 Krems an der Donau / Austria

T +43 664 605 88 22 44

+43 2732 72090 394



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Dr. Barbara Bauder

Kollersteig 68

3400 Klosterneuburg / Austria

M +43 664 1576 350



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Page Updated Last on: May 08, 2024
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