Thursday December 12, 2019

US: Antibiotic-Resistant Genes (ARGs) Prevail in Groundwater

Because they are biological contaminants -- small fragments of DNA that are released to the environment -- bacteria present

0
//
US, Antibiotic, Genes
The big concern is the spread of new and emerging contaminants like ARGs through the water system and an increase in development of antibiotic-resistant super bugs, the researchers warned. Pixabay

In an alarming find, a team of US researchers has discovered that antibiotic-resistant genes (ARGs) were prevalent in groundwater, posing a potential hazard to public safety and water security.

The big concern is the spread of new and emerging contaminants like ARGs through the water system and an increase in development of antibiotic-resistant super bugs, the researchers warned.

“ARGs are not regulated in any way and are a challenging emerging contaminant of concern due to our reliance on biological treatment in the engineered water cycle,” said Adam Smith, Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California (USC).

“Because they are biological contaminants — small fragments of DNA that are released to the environment — bacteria present in receiving environments can uptake them, becoming resistant themselves, and further perpetuating the spread of resistance.”

US, Antibiotic, Genes
The big concern is the spread of new and emerging contaminants like ARGs through the water system and an increase in development of antibiotic-resistant super bugs, the researchers warned. Pixabay

Smith and a team of researchers including Moustapha Harb from Lebanese American University and PhD students Phillip Wang and Ali Zarei-Baygi from the USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering, studied and compared samples from an advanced groundwater treatment facility in southern California and groundwater aquifers to detect differences in ARG concentrations.

While they found that the advanced groundwater treatment facility reduced nearly all targeted ARGs to below detection limits, groundwater samples had a ubiquitous presence of ARGs in both control locations and locations recharged with water from the advanced water treatment facility.

While some ARGs are naturally occurring in microbial communities, antibiotics, ARGs and antibiotic resistant pathogens are on the rise in water sources as a result of the overuse of antibiotics in general.

“Looking at the differences in ARGs between various water sources is incredibly important in considering future health hazards, like development of super bugs,” Smith said in a paper published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters.

Also Read- Intelligence Agencies to Step Up Vigilance on Ground Level Personnel of Sensitive Establishments

Since wastewater treatment plants are not generally designed for removal of micro-pollutants like antibiotics, they tend to persist in treatment systems, leading to high densities of ARG resistant bacteria at different stages of treatment.

When this water is introduced into an aquifer, where ARGs are already naturally occurring, it can become contaminated with ARGs and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

To further complicate the issue, ARGs are easily transferred through horizontal gene transfer, increasing the risk for antibiotic resistant pathogens.

“We must act fast before we enter a so called ‘post-antibiotic world’ where bacterial infections become impossible to treat,” Smith warned. (IANS)

Next Story

Genetic Alteration Can Increase Risk of Developing Autism and Tourette’s Syndrome

Some researchers also found that the ability of the Thalamic brain regions to communicate with other brain areas was impaired by the genetic deletion

0
Genetic
Genetic deletion disrupts a brain area known as the Thalamus, compromising its ability to communicate with other brain areas. Pixabay

Researchers have discovered how a Genetic Alteration that increases the risk of developing Autism and Tourette’s impairs brain communication.

People with a genetic deletion known as chromosome 2p16.3 deletion often experience developmental delay and have learning difficulties.

They are also around 15 times more likely to develop Autism and 20 times more likely to develop Tourette’s Syndrome, but the mechanisms involved are not completely understood.

Using brain imaging studies, neuroscientists showed that deletion of the gene impacted by 2p16.3 deletion (Neurexin1) have impacts on the function of brain regions involved in both conditions.

This genetic deletion disrupts a brain area known as the Thalamus, compromising its ability to communicate with other brain areas, said the study published in the journal Cerebral Cortex.

“We currently have a very poor understanding of how the 2p16.3 deletion dramatically increases the risk of developing these disorders,” said lead researcher Neil Dawson of Lancaster University in Britain.

“However, we know that the 2p16.3 deletion involves deletion of the Neurexin1 gene, a gene that makes a protein responsible for allowing neurons to communicate effectively,” Dawson said.

Deletion of the Neurexin1 gene affects brain areas involved in Autism and Tourette’s including the Thalamus, a collection of brain regions that play a key role in helping other brain areas communicate with each other.

Autism
Researchers have discovered how a Genetic Alteration that increases the risk of developing Autism and Tourette’s impairs brain communication. Pixabay

Changes were also found in brain regions involved in processing sensory information and in learning and memory.

Importantly, the researchers also found that the ability of the Thalamic brain regions to communicate with other brain areas was impaired by the genetic deletion.

ALSO READ: Physical illness And injury Raises The Risk of Suicide in Men, Not Women: Study

They then tested the ability of a low dose of the drug Ketamine, which is used clinically at higher doses as an anesthetic, to normalise the alterations in brain function induced by genetic deletion.

“Intriguingly our data suggest that Ketamine can restore some aspects of the brain dysfunction that results from 2p16.3 deletion and suggests that ketamine, or other related drugs, may be useful in treating some of the symptoms seen in autism and Tourette’s,” Dawson said. (IANS)