I am pleased to announce the publication of our latest paper on modeling antibiotic resistance in the ambient aquatic environment. I want to use this post to try to put this paper into a larger context. You see, mathematical models are useful tools for managing and understanding environmental systems, and they have an established track record in environmental engineering and science. Water quality models can be used to relate discharges to ambient conditions, interpret field observations and test hypotheses. The first water quality model focused on the depletion of dissolved oxygen downstream of a wastewater discharge (Streeter-Phelps model). Since then, models have continuously evolved to address changing societal needs, including pathogens (e.g. E. coli), eutrophication, toxics (e.g. PCBs), heavy metals and harmful algae (e.g. cyanobacteria). Antibiotic resistance in the aquatic environment is an emerging concern, and it makes sense for us to develop mathematical water quality models for this problem as well.
We are currently developing a model for this problem, and this latest paper includes the mechanism of co-selection by metals. Here are some results from the final model. The figure shows the Poudre River study area with WWTP inputs and urban land use. The stream segments are shaded based on simulated tetracycline antibiotic resistance for the zinc co-selection case (Model H3\Zn, see paper). The data are from Pei et al. 2006.
Here are the links to the three papers, the newest one is listed last:
Next I am off to Edinburgh, Scotland to participate in a modeling workshop.
Guid cheerio the nou! (Good bye in Scots),