Control of antimicrobial resistance in water is critical. Disinfection in water and wastewater treatment plants is a vital barrier against antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB); however, it is less effective in controlling- and may even facilitate the spread of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). This project aims to comprehensively investigate the effectiveness of widely-used disinfection processes in controlling ARB/ARGs, determine the underlying mechanisms, and identify optimal treatment conditions. This project also aims to develop a novel, cost-effective and environmentally friendly disinfection process for efficient ARGs destruction, thus significantly strengthening Australia’s capacity to prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance.

This project includes the following three tasks:

  • Elucidate whether common disinfection processes promote the spread of antibiotic resistance via mutation or horizontal gene transfer, and understand the acquisition and dissemination mechanisms of ARGs under different disinfection conditions. 
  • Develop an efficient and advanced disinfection method to combat the spread of antibiotic resistance in urban water systems. 
  • Demonstrate the technical feasibility in an integrated disinfection system by using real wastewater to achieve simultaneous removal of ARB, ARGs, and antibiotics.
     

Publications

1.    Ahmed, Y., Zhong, J., Yuan, Z., & Guo, J. (2022). Roles of reactive oxygen species in antibiotic resistant bacteria inactivation and micropollutant degradation in Fenton and photo-Fenton processes. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 430, 128408.
2.    Yu, Z., Li, X., & Guo, J. (2022). Combat antimicrobial resistance emergence and biofilm formation through nanoscale zero-valent iron particles. Chemical Engineering Journal, 136569.
3.    Zhong, J., Ahmed, Y., Carvalho, G., Wang, Z., Wang, L., Mueller, J. F., & Guo, J. (2022). Simultaneous removal of micropollutants, antibiotic resistant bacteria, and antibiotic resistance genes using graphitic carbon nitride under simulated solar irradiation. Chemical Engineering Journal, 433, 133839.
4.    Zhang, S., Wang, Y., Lu, J., Yu, Z., Song, H., Bond, P. L., & Guo, J. (2021). Chlorine disinfection facilitates natural transformation through ROS-mediated oxidative stress. The ISME journal, 15(10), 2969-2985.
5.    Yu, Z., Rabiee, H., & Guo, J. (2021). Synergistic effect of sulfidated nano zerovalent iron and persulfate on inactivating antibiotic resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes. Water Research, 198, 117141.
6.    Ahmed, Y., Zhong, J., Yuan, Z., & Guo, J. (2021). Simultaneous removal of antibiotic resistant bacteria, antibiotic resistance genes, and micropollutants by a modified photo-Fenton process. Water Research, 197, 117075. 
7.    Zhong, J., Jiang, H., Wang, Z., Yu, Z., Wang, L., Mueller, J. F., & Guo, J. (2021). Efficient photocatalytic destruction of recalcitrant micropollutants using graphitic carbon nitride under simulated sunlight irradiation. Environmental Science and Ecotechnology, 5, 100079.
 

Project members

Associate Professor Jianhua Guo

UQ Amplify Fellow
Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Biotechnology

Dr Gilda De Sousa Carvalho Oehmen

Senior Lecturer
Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Biotechnology

Mr Zhigang Yu

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Biotechnology