Project title: Seasonal and spatial distribution of antibiotic resistance genes in marine microbial communities along a trophic gradient in central Adriatic Sea

Acronym: ARGAS

Project identifier: UIP-2019-04-9778

Type of project: Installation Research Project

Funding body: Croatian science foundation (HRZZ)

Project duration: January 2020- December 2024


Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is declared by World Health Organization as “one of the greatest threats to global health, food security and development today”. Although the aquatic environments are among major sources/reservoirs of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs), we still lack much to comprehend the overall span of ARG repertoire available in marine environment as well as the role of bacterial communities as their vehicles, particularly in terms of proliferation and further transmission of resistance traits towards human pathogenic bacteria.

By combining culture-dependent and state-of-the-art culture-independent tools such as next-generation sequencing (NGS) and RT-PCR, the aim is to for the first time comprehensively and interdisciplinary investigate the marine microbiome composition and affiliated ARGs repertoire along a trophic gradient of central Adriatic Sea.  Both biological and non-biological factors influencing the dynamics of microbial communities as ARGs carriers, and consequently, the diversity and distribution of ARGs on a seasonal and spatial scale, will be assessed.

We will also characterize the multiple resistant isolates and determine the structure and transferability of resistance plasmids, providing novel insights on the routes of successful ARGs exchange in the marine environment and further towards human pathogens.

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