Catalan Water Research Institute research and innovation for the sustainable use of water


20/12/2021 - 19/12/2024

Phage treatment and wetland technology as intervention strategy to prevent dissemination of antibiotic resistance in surface waters

PhageLand will develop a new intervention strategy that combines the ecological and low-cost purification capacity of constructed wetlands (CW), with specific bacteriophage-based treatment to prevent the transmission of antibiotic resistance from wastewater to surface water . PhageLand includes public health research on multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogens (MDR) in low-middle-income (LMIC) Eastern European countries and the adaptation of phage treatment to eliminate these multidrug-resistant pathogens from wastewater. In parallel, PhageLand will evaluate: a) the self-purification capacity of two model CWs operating in Spain and Moldova for the elimination of antibiotic residues, ARBs and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs); i b) the potential risk associated with the spread of ARBs and ARGs within the native bacterial communities and among the animals that inhabit these wetlands. Experimental tasks will combine field and laboratory experiments with cutting-edge chemical, biotechnological and (meta)genomic techniques, as well as animal trials. Finally, a pilot-scale infrastructure will be used to scale up the PhageLand technology and evaluate its performance under real-world conditions. This proof of concept will be used to demonstrate the effectiveness and scalability of this nature-based technology to combat antibiotic resistance and to incentivize all stakeholders to apply it for wastewater treatment, especially in low- and middle-income countries, where the installation of expensive and energy-intensive treatment plants is difficult.