Tucholski, Kylee, Biochemistry and Cellular Biology, Bucknell University, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg, PA, 17837, firstname.lastname@example.org; Olsson, Marlee, Biology, Bucknell University; Stowe, Emily, Biology, Bucknell University, 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg, PA, 17837, email@example.com.
We live in a microbial world. The soils and waters of Pennsylvania are home to an uncountable number of bacteria, the vast majority of which pose no threat to human or animal health. However, some of these bacteria carry genes that make them resistant to the antibiotics we use to treat infections. Antibiotic resistance is naturally occurring in many bacteria but the prevalence of resistant bacteria in the environment can be influenced by human actions (agrochemical runoff, drugs released into waterways because current sewage treatment does not remove them from the water). Horizontal gene transfer makes it possible for noninfectious species to transfer antibiotic resistance genes to bacteria of clinical concern. Antibiotic resistant bacteria caused nearly 3 million infections and 36000 deaths in the US in 2019 (CDC report). The present study sought to determine the diversity of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes in streams and soil surrounding the Bucknell University campus, as surveillance of antimicrobial resistance is managed minimally. Additionally, we determined the percentage of the population in each sample resistant to tetracycline and assessed community metabolic diversity. PCR was used to determine if the eDNA from River Run, Miller Run, Buffalo Creek, Limestone Run, and the Susquehanna River contained a range of genes known to regulate antibiotic resistance. Most of the samples contained genes to several of the AMR genes, including resistance to antibiotics that target cell wall synthesis, protein synthesis, and DNA synthesis. Of the five locations, using data from both water and soil samples, the Susquehanna River contained the greatest diversity of genes for antibiotic resistance. River health impacts the well-being of society; therefore, it is important to study the presence of antibiotic resistant genes in the local environment.
Antimicrobial resistance, Susquehanna River, AMR genes, Metabolic diversity