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  • Muurinen, Johanna; Pasupulate, Avinash; Lappalainen, Juha; Virta, Marko (2019)
    Whole-cell bioreporters are living organisms and thus using them for detecting environmental contaminants would reflect biological effects of these pollutants. However, bioreporters are not widely used in field studies. Many of the bioreporter field protocols are suitable for liquid samples or include pipetting steps, which is a demanding task outside the laboratory. We present a bioreporter protocol without pipetting or sample type requirements. The protocol utilizes polyester swabs, commonly used in cleanroom technology. As an example contaminant, we used tetracycline and generated test samples with known concentrations up to the maximum tetracycline residue limit of milk set by the European Union (EU) regulation. The matrices of the test samples were Milli-Q water, milk and soil. The swabs were first dipped in the bioreporter cell cultures and then to test samples and luminescence was measured after incubation. The standard deviation of measurements from ten replicate swabs was in the same range as commonly in pipetting protocols (4-19%). The test samples with lowest tetracycline concentration (5 ng mL(-1)) were distinguished from the control samples (0 ng mL(-1) tetracycline). Our results show that swabs can be used together with luminescent whole cell bioreporters, making it possible to conduct the measurements in field conditions.
  • Rutgersson, Carolin; Ebmeyer, Stefan; Lassen, Simon Bo; Karkman, Antti; Fick, Jerker; Kristiansson, Erik; Brandt, Kristian K.; Flach, Carl-Fredrik; Larsson, D.G. Joakim (2020)
    The widespread practice of applying sewage sludge to arable land makes use of nutrients indispensable for crops and reduces the need for inorganic fertilizer, however this application also provides a potential route for human exposure to chemical contaminants and microbial pathogens in the sludge. A recent concern is that such practice could promote environmental selection and dissemination of antibiotic resistant bacteria or resistance genes. Understanding the risks of sludge amendment in relation to antibiotic resistance development is important for sustainable agriculture, waste treatment and infectious disease management. To assess such risks, we took advantage of an agricultural field trial in southern Sweden, where land used for growing different crops has been amended with sludge every four years since 1981. We sampled raw, semi-digested and digested and stored sludge together with soils from the experimental plots before and two weeks after the most recent amendment in 2017. Levels of selected antimicrobials and bioavailable metals were determined and microbial effects were evaluated using both culture-independent metagenome sequencing and conventional culturing. Antimicrobials or bioavailable metals (Cu and Zn) did not accumulate to levels of concern for environmental selection of antibiotic resistance, and no coherent signs, neither on short or long time scales, of enrichment of antibiotic-resistant bacteria or resistance genes were found in soils amended with digested and stored sewage sludge in doses up to 12 metric tons per hectare. Likewise, only very few and slight differences in microbial community composition were observed after sludge amendment. Taken together, the current study does not indicate risks of sludge amendment related to antibiotic resistance development under the given conditions. Extrapolations should however be done with care as sludge quality and application practices vary between regions. Hence, the antibiotic concentrations and resistance load of the sludge are likely to be higher in regions with larger antibiotic consumption and resistance burden than Sweden.
  • Tiwari, Ananda; Paakkanen, Jaana; Österblad, Monica; Kirveskari, Juha; Hendriksen, Rene S.; Heikinheimo, Annamari (2022)
    Antimicrobial resistance profiling of pathogens helps to identify the emergence of rare or new resistance threats and prioritize possible actions to be taken against them. The analysis of wastewater (WW) can reveal the circulation of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria (ARB) and antimicrobial resistance genes (ARG) among the catchment communities. Here, we analyzed WW influent samples to determine the prevalence of carbapenemase genes-carrying Gram-negative bacteria (Carba-GNB) in Helsinki, Finland. This study set important historical reference points from the very early stage of the carbapenemase era, during the period 2011-2012. A total of 405 bacterial isolates grown on CHROMagarKPC (n = 195) and CHROMagarESBL (n = 210) from WW influent samples were collected between October 2011 and August 2012 and were analyzed. The bacterial DNA from the isolates was extracted, and the prevalence of carbapenemases genes bla(KPC), bla(NDM), bla(GES), bla(OXA-48), bla(IMP), bla(IMI), and bla(VIM) were screened with multiplexed PCR. All carbapenemase-positive isolates were identified taxonomically to species or genus level with matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). The nucleic acid extraction was successful for 399 isolates, of which 59 (14.8%) were found to carry carbapenemase genes. A total of 89.8% of the carbapenemase positive isolates (53 out of 59) were obtained from CHROMagarKPC plates and only 10.2% (six out of 59) were obtained from CHROMagar ESBL plates. Among the Carba-GNB isolates, 86.4% were bla(GES) (51 out of 59), 10.2% were bla(KPC) (six out of 59), and 3.4% were bla(VIM) (two out of 59). The most common carba-gene, bla(GES), was carried by 10 different bacterial species, including Aeromonas spp., Enterobacter spp., and Kluyvera spp.; the bla(KPC) gene was carried by Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Kluyvera cryocescens; and the bla(VIM) gene was carried by Aeromonas hydrophila/caviae and Citrobacter amalonaticus. This study emphasizes that wastewater surveillance (WWS) can be an additional tool for monitoring antimicrobial resistance (AMR) at the population level.