Standardizing Methods for Monitoring Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria/Resistance Genes in Wastewater, Surface Water, and Recycled Water


Antibiotic resistance is a major human health challenge of the 21st century. A growing body of research demonstrates that the water environment is a key recipient, pathway, and source of antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARBs) and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). While environmental monitoring of ARBs and ARGs is needed to better quantify environmental contributions to the overall spread of antibiotic resistance and its human and animal health burden, such efforts are hampered by a lack of standardized monitoring methods.

This webcast presented the results of the project Standardizing Methods with QA/QC Standards for Investigating the Occurrence and Removal of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria/Antibiotic Resistance Genes (ARB/ARGs) in Surface Water, Wastewater, and Recycled Water (5052), providing much-needed guidance to water utilities on what, where, and how to monitor for antimicrobial resistance targets in wastewater, recycled water, and surface water. The project results include a framework for method selection depending on the monitoring goals, which was informed by a literature review, expert input, and interlaboratory comparison of methods. This project was supported by the California State Water Resources Control Board.


  • Amy Pruden, PhD, W. Thomas Rice Professor and University Distinguished Professor, Virginia Tech
  • Valerie J. Harwood, PhD, Professor, University of South Florida
  • Krista M. Liguori, Graduate Research Fellow, Virginia Tech
  • Ishi M. Keenum, PhD, Civil Engineer, National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Benjamin C. Davis, PhD, Graduate Research Assistant, Virginia Tech
  • Erin Milligan, Graduate Research Assistant, Virginia Tech
  • Jeanette Calarco, Graduate Student, University of South Florida
  • Jingyi Zhang, PhD Candidate, Department of Computer Science, Virginia Tech


  • Michelle Suazo, Webcast Administrator, The Water Research Foundation