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Environmental surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in a rapidly developing catchment


Development and spread of AMR from various sources such as hospitals, pharmaceutical industries, animal farms and human habitations is not well understood. We conducted a pilot study to assess the prevalence of AMR by taking a case of rapidly developing catchment in Western India. For this, we selected four sub-catchments/regions with a dominant source of antibiotics, viz. areas with (a) dense poultry farms (4 farms/km2), (b) sparse number of poultry farms (2 farms/km2), (c) agricultural fields and (d) habitation (village). The environmental samples (soil, litter and water) were subjected to Kirby-Bauer/antibiotic disc susceptibility test to assess the resistance pattern in the bacterial species. Preliminary investigations showed the presence of seven multidrug-resistant bacterial species in the litter from poultry farms, with five species having a MAR index greater than 0.2. No evidence of AMR was observed in the vicinity (water and soil) of the poultry farms. This could be attributed to the rigorous disinfection protocols followed at the poultry farms to prevent infection in the fresh batch of chickens. However, in agricultural fields where the litter is used as manure, seven multiple drugs resistant with two species scoring a MAR index greater than 0.2 were observed. MAR index of less than 0.2 was observed for Escherichia coli and Enterobacter species isolated from village and control site (soil), respectively, indicating negligible contamination by antibiotics at sub-catchments. This study provides an approach to investigate the effects of multiple factors on the prevalence of AMR at the catchment scale.

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Data availability

The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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The authors acknowledge Sustainable and Healthy Food Systems (SHEFS) Project—an interdisciplinary research partnership forming part of the Wellcome Trust’s funded Our Planet, Our Health programme. The authors are also thankful to Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) for its facilities and support. The authors acknowledge Mr. Abhijeet Kulkarni and Mr. Pradeep Satpute from ATREE for their contributions in the fieldwork. The authors also acknowledge Mr. Ganesh Shinde from ATREE GIS team for providing help with maps.


The Wellcome Trust funded this research through the Sustainable and Healthy Food Systems (SHEFS) Project (Grant number- 205200/Z/16/Z).

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Authors and Affiliations



Priyanka Jamwal: conceptualization; writing, review and editing; supervision. Akash Ashwini: data curation, formal analysis, writing—original draft. Abi Tamim Vanak: review and editing, funding acquisition.

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Correspondence to Priyanka Jamwal.

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All relevant approvals were sought from the ATREE’s ethics committee before beginning of the SHEFS project (Grant number- 205200/Z/16/Z).

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Ashwini, A., Jamwal, P. & Vanak, A.T. Environmental surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in a rapidly developing catchment. Environ Monit Assess 195, 7 (2023).

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  • AMR
  • Bacteria
  • Baseline protocol
  • Catchment
  • Environment
  • MAR index