Quantifying and predicting antimicrobials and antimicrobial resistance genes in waterbodies through a holistic approach: a study in Minnesota, United States

Irene Bueno, Amanda L Beaudoin, Bill Arnold, Taegyu Kim, Lara E Frankson, Timothy M LaPara, Kaushi Kanankege, Kristine H. Wammer, Randall Singer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The environment plays a key role in the spread and persistence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Antimicrobials and antimicrobial resistance genes (ARG) are released into the environment from sources such as wastewater treatment plants, and animal farms. This study describes an approach guided by spatial mapping to quantify and predict antimicrobials and ARG in Minnesota’s waterbodies in water and sediment at two spatial scales: macro, throughout the state, and micro, in specific waterbodies. At the macroscale, the highest concentrations across all antimicrobial classes were found near populated areas. Kernel interpolation provided an approximation of antimicrobial concentrations and ARG abundance at unsampled locations. However, there was high uncertainty in these predictions, due in part to low study power and large distances between sites. At the microscale, wastewater treatment plants had an effect on ARG abundance (sul1 and sul2 in water; blaSHV, intl1, mexB, and sul2 in sediment), but not on antimicrobial concentrations. Results from sediment reflected a long-term history, while water reflected a more transient record of antimicrobials and ARG. This study highlights the value of using spatial analyses, different spatial scales, and sampling matrices, to design an environmental monitoring approach to advance our understanding of AMR persistence and dissemination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number18747
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 21 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the Minnesota Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund (M.L. 2018, Chp. 214, Art. 4, Sec. 02, Subd. 04h.) as recommended by the Legislative and Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. We would like to acknowledge the expertise and help provided by Len Kne and Peter Wiringa, at U-Spatial, University of Minnesota. We also thank Mark Ferrey from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for providing feedback, data, and support for this project. Finally, this work could not have been possible without the work done by undergraduate students from the University of Saint Thomas (Kathryn C. Breuckman, Eleanor E. Meyer, Joseph M. Statsick, Sarah J. Ziemann) and the University of Minnesota (Kurt Krautman, Doug Shield, Anna Saboe).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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