Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/9930
Appears in Collections:Aquaculture eTheses
Title: A study into the effects and environmental risk of antibiotics used in freshwater aquaculture on environmental bacteria
Authors: Tello Gildemeister, Alfredo
Supervisor(s): Telfer, Trevor C.
Keywords: aquaculture
antibiotic resistance
antibiotic pollution
microbial ecology
quantitative environmental risk assessment
minimum inhibitory concentration
aquaculture effluents
salmonids
Issue Date: Jun-2012
Publisher: University of Stirling
Citation: Tello A, Corner R, Telfer TC (2010). How do land-based salmonid farms affect stream ecology? Environmental Pollution 158:1147-1158.
Tello A, Austin B, Telfer TC (2012). Selective pressure of antibiotic pollution on bacteria of importance to public health . Environmental Health Perspectives 120:1100-1106.
Abstract: Aquaculture is the fastest growing food industry in the world and it accounts for roughly half of the world's fish supply. The majority of global aquaculture production occurs in freshwater systems that are increasingly subject to multiple uses by different stakeholders. Given the overall scarcity of freshwater on a global scale, freshwater aquaculture will face increasing environmental constraints that will demand an ever better understanding of its potential impacts on the aquatic environment and human health. This thesis consists of a series of studies that, collectively, contribute to further our understanding on the effects of freshwater aquaculture effluents on aquatic ecosystems, on the effects and environmental safety of antibiotics used in freshwater aquaculture on aquatic bacterial communities and on the link between antibiotic pollution and antibiotic resistance. Chapter 2 reviews the effects of freshwater aquaculture effluents on stream ecosystems using land-based salmonid farms as a case study. In this chapter I discuss relevant considerations related to the temporal and spatial scales of effluent discharge and ecological effects that highlight the need to characterize the patterns of stressor discharge when assessing environmental impacts and designing ecological effects studies. I also discuss the potential role of multiple stressors - with an emphasis on veterinary medicines - in disrupting ecosystem structure and function. Overall, the critical analysis presented in this chapter indicates that further research on the effects of veterinary medicines using relevant exposure scenarios would significantly contribute to our understanding of their impact in relation to other effluent stressors. Chapter 3 is a general methods chapter that describes the stream microcosm system used to assess the effects of erythromycin thiocyanate (ERT) and florfenicol (FFC) on bacterial communities of stream biofilms. This chapter presents the results of preliminary experiments whose results provided relevant information on the overall operation of the microcosms and on the variability of major physical and biological variables. This information guided the experimental designs used to assess the effects of FFC and ERT on the bacterial community structure of stream biofilms. Chapter 4 presents the results of the experiment conducted to assess the effects of FFC on the bacterial community structure of developing biofilms. The objective was to assess changes in bacterial community structure along a gradient of FFC concentrations that could provide insight into the type and magnitude of effects that could be expected from episodic exposure of stream biofilms to FFC in headwater streams. At 10 and 20 days of biofilm development, bacterial community structure differentiated in a pattern consistent with the FFC concentration gradient and there was a positive relationship between bacterial richness and bacterial diversity with FFC concentration. At 15 days of biofilm development there was also a positive relationship between FFC concentration and the surface coverage of bacteria and extracellular polymeric substances. These trends declined as the biofilm developed a more complex architecture, in terms of thickness and in the surface coverage of algae. The results are consistent with an initial stimulatory effect of FFC on biofilm formation that triggered changes in bacterial community structure that were gradually compressed as the development of a complex biofilm architecture increased the relative importance of autogenic ecological processes. The results suggest that the co-occurrence of FFC with bacterial pathogens in effluents and wastewaters may favour their persistence in the environment by enhancing biofilm formation. Chapter 5 presents the results of the experiment conducted to assess the effects of ERT on the bacterial community structure of developing biofilms. Currently, Aquamycin® 100 - a Type A medicated article (i.e., Premix) containing 100 g ERT lb-1 and used to produce a Type C medicated feed - is a candidate drug for approval by the US FDA to control mortality associated with bacterial kidney disease in freshwater salmonids. The objective of this experiment was to assess the effects of ERT on the bacterial community structure of stream biofilms using an exposure period consistent with the 28-day treatment regime suggested for Aquamycin® 100. The results provide no evidence to suggest that a 30-day exposure to ERT concentrations in the range of 10 μg L-1 (i.e., 7.3 ± 3.9 μg L-1) would lead to changes in the bacterial community structure or overall bacterial abundance of stream biofilms, while they suggest that these effects may occur at concentrations in the range of 100 μg L-1 (i.e., 87.2 ± 31.1 μg L-1). Chapter 6 attempts to determine whether environmental concentrations of antibiotics and concentrations representing action limits used in environmental risk assessment may exert a selective pressure on clinically relevant bacteria in the environment. In this chapter I use bacterial inhibition as an assessment endpoint to link antibiotic selective pressures to the prevalence of resistance in bacterial populations. Species sensitivity distributions were derived for three antibiotics by fitting log-logistic models to endpoints calculated from minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) distributions based on worldwide data collated by the European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (EUCAST). Bacteria represented in these distributions were placed in a broader context by performing a brief phylogenetic analysis. The potentially affected fraction of bacterial genera at measured environmental concentrations of antibiotics and environmental risk assessment action limits was used as a proxy for antibiotic selective pressure. Measured environmental concentrations and environmental risk assessment action limits were also directly compared to wild-type cut-off values. Results suggest that measured environmental concentrations of antibiotics and concentrations representing environmental risk assessment action limits are high enough to exert a selective pressure on clinically relevant bacteria that may lead to an increase in the prevalence of resistance. Chapter 7 presents the results of an exploratory analysis conducted to assess the abundance of class 1 integrons in stream biofilms exposed to FFC and ERT. There was no pattern in the abundance of intI1 genes consistent with the treatment of FFC and ERT, suggesting either the absence of gene cassettes involved in dealing with selective pressures caused by these antibiotics or that the concentrations tested were below those required to give them a selective advantage. Chapter 8 is a brief general discussion that brings together the findings of the thesis and makes suggestions for future research. Key areas identified for future research include assessing in further detail the stimulatory effect of FFC on biofilm formation in complex bacterial communities, the interactive effects of multiple aquaculture effluent stressors on aquatic bacterial communities and their potential effects on the development of antibiotic resistance, the fate of FFC and ERT in stream ecosystems, and further developing the analysis based on MIC distributions presented in chapter 6 to assess the potential effects of antibiotic pollution on the selection of multi-drug resistance in the environment.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/9930
Affiliation: School of Natural Sciences
Aquaculture

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