Environmental stress increases the invasion success of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in river microbial communities

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung



Environmental microbiomes are constantly exposed to invasion events through foreign, antibiotic resistant bacteria that were enriched in the anthropic sphere. However, the biotic and abiotic factors, as well as the natural barriers that determine the invasion success of these invader bacteria into the environmental microbiomes are poorly understood. A great example of such invasion events are river microbial communities constantly exposed to resistant bacteria originating from wastewater effluents. Here, we aim at gaining comprehensive insights into the key factors that determine their invasion success with a particular focus on the effects of environmental stressors, regularly co-released in wastewater effluents. Understanding invasion dynamics of resistant bacteria is crucial for limiting the environmental spread of antibiotic resistance. To achieve this, we grew natural microbial biofilms on glass slides in rivers for one month. The biofilms were then transferred to laboratory, recirculating flume systems and exposed to a single pulse of a model resistant invader bacterium (Escherichia coli) either in presence or absence of stress induced by Cu2+. The invasion dynamics of E. coli into the biofilms were then monitored for 14 days. Despite an initially successful introduction of E. coli into the biofilms, independent of the imposed stress, over time the invader perished in absence of stress. However, under stress the invading strain successfully established and proliferated in the biofilms. Noteworthy, the increased establishment success of the invader coincided with a loss in microbial community diversity under stress conditions, likely due to additional niche space becoming available for the invader.


FachzeitschriftScience of the total environment
Jahrgang904 (2023)
Frühes Online-Datum29 Aug. 2023
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 15 Dez. 2023

Externe IDs

PubMed 37652387
ORCID /0000-0002-4169-6548/work/143074916
ORCID /0000-0002-9301-1803/work/161409836



  • AMR, Bacterial invasion, Environmental stress, River microbiome, Microbiota, Escherichia coli, Bacteria, Rivers/microbiology, Wastewater, Anti-Bacterial Agents/pharmacology, Anti-Infective Agents