Determine the baseline prevalence of antimicrobial resistance in multiple environments.
<p>Clearly, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) predates the use of antimicrobials (AMs) by humans in clinical and agricultural settings. For the majority of AMs, the organism responsible for AM production would, by necessity, harbor a resistance mechanism to avoid its own termination. The problem arises when these resistance mechanisms are transferred to other bacterial species. The spread of AMR threatens the effectiveness of perhaps the most significant therapeutics available to maintain human health. Animal agriculture has been accused of encouraging the spread of resistance through the consumption of large quantities of antimicrobials for both therapeutic and prophylactic applications. Indeed several studies have identified resistant bacterial strains in agricultural settings. The deficiency in these studies is that other environments were not sampled for comparison. When AMR is reported in agricultural settings without comparison to other environments there is a false pretense that the identified resistance is confined to the agricultural setting and would not be found elsewhere. The hypothesis for this project is that you will find resistance elements whenever and wherever you look for them. Many studies have identified populations of resistant microbes in a variety of habitats ranging from confined animal feeding operations, to municipal waste streams, to pristine environments with little to no human impact. However, very little has been done to show that the habitat is not the issue, but rather antibiotic resistance is a very widespread phenomenon.</p>