Centre for New Antibacterial Strategies (CANS) seminar
The central and northern provinces of South Africa are the main agricultural producers for the country and ensures a prosperous export market. Some these agricultural activities include large feed-lots for meat production which are associated with use of antibiotics in treatment, as prophylactics or growth promoters. These provinces are also the main mining areas with its related support manufacturing industries that generate large quantities of heavy metals that land in soil and water. Linked to these economic activities are also growing urban, peri-urban and rural populations. All of the mentioned economic activities and population growth requires large amounts of water and also produces large amounts of wastewater and return flows. In addition to this a large number of wastewater treatment plants in the urban and peri-urban sector are not working optimally or are in disrepair. However, limited scattered data are available for the potential direct and indirect impacts of this limited resource in a water stressed country, such as South Africa. The one very important aspect that has been neglected in water research and management in South Africa, is microbiology and its relation to the water quality. At the North-West University Aquatic Microbiology we have generated some microbiology data (including antimicrobial resistance data) of water sources across some of the in-land provinces. We are also generating base-line data on the microbiology of systems in agricultural settings. In this presentation these provinces are briefly profiled and impacts of agriculture on the economics, social and aquatic environments are briefly explored. Microbiology results of studies on water microbes using culture dependent and culture independent methods will be presented. The studies include (i) some metagenomics data from study of a river system and potential roles of bacterial species, (ii) antibiotic resistance patterns and associated antibiotic resistance genes among bacteria in a number of rivers, (iii) antifungal resistance in two rivers and, (iv) some recent data on wastewater plants originating antibiotic resistant bacteria and resistance genes of microbes associated with microplastics.