Resistance to antimicrobial agents in the environment

Subject description

  1. The overview of chemicals, which are known to stimulate the resistance development a. four subclasses:antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, and antiparasitics; b. growth promoting substances in food animal production; c. biocides (i.e., disinfectants and surfactants, preservatives, aditives), d. natural chemicals (e.g., plant-derived), e. xenobiotic substances (e.g., solvents such as octanol, hexane and toluene), f. heavy metals;
  2. Intrinsic and acquired mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance, vertical and horizontal genes transmissions
  3. The common characteristics, simultaneous or cross- transmission and bound resistance to various substances and procedures.
  4. The ways of spreading the antimicrobial agents and resistant microorganisms in the environment:
  1. aquatic environments, surface water and groundwater,
  2. wastewater from healthcare and pharmaceutical facilities,
  3. municipal, industrial wastewater
  4. animal manure and sewage effluents from farms and its use in agriculture
  5. activated sludge from sewage treatment plants used as fertilizer in agriculture;
  6. aquaculture;
  7. aerosols;
  8. plant biomass; plant influent and effluent;
  9. animals for food production;
  10. soil, sediment and composting process.


5. Antimicrobial substances in the environment: physicochemical properties (pH, solubility, hydrophobicity, Henry's coefficient, etc.), stability and changes in the environment  and function and activity of degradation products.

6. Impact of antimicrobial residues on organisms in the environment, including humans, and its risk assessment (acute and /or long-term, chronic toxic effects on humans and the environment, PBT and vPvB substances of concern)

7. Intrinsic resistance of environmental non – pathogenic microorganisms to antimicrobial substances in the environment, without human influence. Possibilities of horizontal gene transfer for resistance to potential human pathogens and vice versa.

8. Transfer of multiple resistant microorganisms in community and public non-health institutions (e.g., social welfare institutions, schools, child care facilities) and their impact on nosocomial infections.

9. Use of antimicrobial substances in foodstuffs and their impact on the resistance of pathogenic microorganisms that are transmitted allimentarily and as zoonoses.

10. The overview of the methods for the detection of antimicrobials and resistant micro-organisms, serch of their targets and mechanisms of adaptation/resistance

11. Integrated control of the use of antimicrobials, other biocides, procedures and the resistance genes spreading as well in human and veterinary medicine, livestock, food production and in the environment.

The subject is taught in programs

Objectives and competences

The student is:

–   familiar with the legalities and mechanisms of resistance to antimicrobial agents;

–   qualified for the proper selection and use of various methods for monitoring, evaluation and critical assessment of the appearance of multiple resistant microorganisms in clinical and non-clinical environments;

–   qualified to analyze the risks of spreading resistant microorganisms, resistance genes and inhibition residues in institutions with different activities: in the fields of health, social care, pharmaceutical production, food production, ecology and sustainable development;

–   He can handle and properly deal with antimicrobials, disinfectants, biocides, heavy metal substances, surfactants especially in terms of their role in polluting the environment;

–           can predict possible adverse effects of uncontrolled use of antimicrobials, biocides for the environment and human health;

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, discussion workshops of the presented seminars.

Expected study results

Knowledge and Comprehension

Understanding  the human impact to the environment as well as the complex relationships between processes in the environment (air, soil and water) from the view of spreading pollutants and genes for resistance.


Synthesis of medical, sanitary, engineering and health principles and techniques together with knowledge on fundamental environmental principles and sustainable development to solve particular problems.

The student will be able to use the acquired knowledge and used approaches for independent research and development in this field of


Student is able to define problems, propose the content of a research project, suggest research methods and state its goals

Skill-transference Ability

The synthesis of theoretical knowledge from different fields of basic science in solving problems from practice.

Basic sources and literature

Patricia L. Keen, Mark H. M. M. Montforts. Antimicrobial Resistance in the Environment. Wiley, p: 632, ISBN: 978-0-470-90542-5

Antimicrobial resistance and food safety : methods and techniques. Editors Chin-Yi Chen, Xianghe Yan, Charlene R. Jackson. Amsterdam [etc.] : Elsevier/AP, cop. 2015, p. 438.

Hardcover ISBN: 9780128012147; eBook ISBN: 9780128013373.

Carlos F. Amabile-Cuevas Antibiotics and Antibiotic Resistance in the Environment, 2020 CRC Press, p. 136  ISBN 9780367575175

Antibiotic Resistance in the Environment. A Worldwide Overview. Editors: Manaia, C.M., Donner, E., Vaz-Moreira, I., Hong, P. 2020,  Springer Nature Switzerland AG ISBN 978-3-030-55065-3.

The European Union Summary Report on Antimicrobial Resistance in zoonotic and indicator bacteria from humans, animals and food in 2017/2018. ECDC EJ EFSA Journal, Approved: 31 January 2020. doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2020.6007. dostopno na: <4. 2. 2021>.

Revijalni članki s področja, tekoča periodika in druga učna gradiva // actual scientific papers in the field, current periodicals, other teaching materials.

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