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Surveillance of Emerging Pathogens and Antibiotic Resistances in Aquatic Ecosystems.


Surveillance of Emerging Pathogens and Antibiotic Resistances in Aquatic Ecosystems.




  • Ongoing


Project website

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Sep 2021 - Sep 2024

Type of action

Joint Call


Antibiotic Resistance and Pathogenic Signature in Marine and Freshwater Aquaculture Systems

Appropriate methods for wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) and a better understanding of the fate of pathogenic viruses and antibiotic-resistant bacteria from the sources to river basins and estuaries are urgently required. Our project will determine the prevalence of pathogenic viruses (including SARS-CoV-2), microbial indicators, antibiotic resistance, and microbial source tracking (MST) markers in wastewater, surface water, coastal sea waters, sediment and bivalve molluscan shellfish (BMS) in catchments located in different climate areas (Sweden, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Israel, Mozambique, and Uganda).

The project aims are:

  1. method harmonization and training of European and African partners,
  2. SARS-CoV-2 detection in raw wastewater as a biomarker of COVID-19 cases,
  3. enteric viruses, antibiotic resistances and MST markers monitoring in aquatic environments,
  4. evaluation of sediments and BMS as integral reservoirs,
  5. determination of the impact of climate and extreme weather events, and
  6. microbial risk assessment for water resources.

Results and recommendations will be transferred to the scientific community by peer-reviewed papers and conference presentations. International health and environment organisations, as well as authorities and waterworks that represent end-users on a global, European and African level, will participate in the Stakeholder Forum.

Expected research results

  • Booklet on harmonized methods - The procedures for sampling, the implementation of culture methods for the detection of indicator bacteria, ARB and viruses, the methods for sample preparation for molecular biological analysis, detection of SARS-CoV-2 and human-specific MST markers will be described in harmonized Standard Operation Protocols (SOPs). These SOPs will be summarized in a booklet and made available to the project partners and public on the project webpage.
  • Report on sediments and BMS - The results from the monitoring of BMS and sediment and the comparison of the results with the data from the water samples and the evaluation of sediments and BMS as integrative tools will be summarized in a report.
  • Risk assessment and recommendation report - Report on risk assessment and development of recommendations concerning the microbiological monitoring of wastewater, surface water, sediments, raw water used for drinking water production. Special emphasis will be given to the evaluation of bacterial and viral indicators in the different geographical areas. Key parameters and monitoring concepts will be recommended for conventional conditions and extreme events.
  • Policy brief -  A short and to the point document focused on emerging pathogens and antibiotic resistances in aquatic ecosystems will be created. It will explain the impact of extreme events and climate change on water quality, present findings of the research project SARA and provide recommendations for future water monitoring.
Project consortium


Project coordinator: Prof. Dr Andreas TIEHM, DVGW-Technologiezentrum Wasser (TZW) - Germany

Communication contact: Prof. Dr Andreas TIEHM - Andreas.Tiehm(at)


Prof. Anicet Blanch, Universitat de Barcelona (UB), Spain

Prof. Abidelfatah Nasser, Ministry of Health (PHLTA), Israel

Prof. Timothy Vogel, École Centrale de Lyon, Laboratoire Ampère (ECL), France

Dr Magnus Simonsson, European Union Reference Laboratory for Foodborne Viruses, Swedish Food Agency (SFA), Sweden

Dr Ricardo SantosUniversidade Lisboa, Instituto Superior Tecnico (IST), Portugal

Prof. Edgar Mulogo, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST), Uganda

Prof. Clemencio Nhantumbo, Eduardo Mondlane University (EMU), Mozambique