Project: Environmental Spread and Persistence of Antibiotic REsistances in aquatic Systems Exposed to oyster Aquaculture

Acronym SPARE-SEA (Reference Number: ID 204)
Duration 01/09/2021 - 31/08/2024
Project Topic Aquaculture has been identified as a gateway for antibiotic resistance (AR) spread, but little is known of AR in the oyster aquaculture environment. The biggest oyster aquaculture industry cultivates the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas, which is cultured in marine coastal areas that are often contaminated by AR determinants (antibiotics, resistance genes, and resistant bacteria) and other pollutants. Moreover, antibiotics are used in hatcheries, and since oysters accumulate bacteria, consumption of raw oysters can be a vector for AR into human microbiomes. Also AR transmission to other species threatens the safety of coastal marine systems, the sustainability of shellfish farming and human health. By combining human, animal and environmental health, SPARE-SEA implements a One Health approach to identify environmental drivers and pathways of AR spread within and between environmental compartments including known and emerging pathogens. By investigating the cumulative effects of human use of coastal ecosystems along multiple gradients (e.g oyster farming intensity and agrochemical pollutant run-off) on the enrichment of AR in the oyster bio-reactor and its subsequent transfer routes within anthroposized coastal environments, we will link objectives of all three JPIs involved and can determine the future research lines in the field of AR in bivalve aquaculture.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
The objective of SPARE-SEA is to assess the risk of ARG transfer in oyster aquaculture along a gradient of usage intensity and agrochemical contaminant input. To achieve this these we will answer the following questions: 1) How does early larval exposure change the oyster resistome in comparison to environmental pressures and does either enrich known and emerging pathogens? 2) Do human activities, like the input of chemical contaminants, activate mobile genetic elements that can carry antibiotic and heavy metal resistance genes? 3) Is the transfer of ARGs enhanced in the oyster bioreactor and what are the conditions that select for ARB in the oyster life and production cycle? 4) Does AR facilitate the emergence of pathogens and pose a serious threat for animal, human and environmental health? 5) Which environmental compartments and human activities pose risks for enhanced ARGs transfer? And how can the compartment specific transfers of ARGs be linked in a one health concept to explain the where, when and why of disease emergence?
Network AquaticPollutants
Call 1st AquaticPollutants Joint Call 2020

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Alfred Wegener Institut - Helmholtz Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung Coordinator Germany
2 CNRS, Ifremer, Université de Montpellier Partner France
3 National Research Council of Italy (CNR) Partner Italy
4 Università degli Studi di Genova Partner Italy
5 Institut De Recerca I Tecnología Agroalimentaria Partner Spain