Protecting rural water ways

We discovered  a unique algae that could help protect rural waterways from deadly antimicrobial resistance – the evolution of bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites making them immune to medicines.  

Antimicrobial resistance has been identified by The World Health Organization as a top 10 global health threat and it is believed its unchecked rise and spread could cause the premature deaths of 10 million people every year by 2050. 

Some of those at risk are the thousands of people living in Scotland’s rural areas who rely on septic tanks and basic wastewater treatment plants, which create a higher threat of antibiotics being discharged into the environment.   

We were awarded a prestigious Medical Research Scotland PhD Studentship to further explore the potential of the microalgae Chlamydomonas acidophila to remove antibiotics from waste-water effluents. 

Humans excrete a percentage of the prescribed antibiotics they take, so, un-degraded antibiotics enter the aquatic environment through wastewater treatment-plant effluent. We need to break this key environmental pathway to improve health and wellbeing

Dr Ania Escudero
School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment