ANSWER

ANtibioticS and mobile resistance elements in WastEwater Reuse applications: risks and innovative solutions

Program at a glance

Funding Agencies

European Commission, Horizon 2020, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

Program Period2015-2019 
Action AcronymANSWER 
Project NumberH2020-MSCA-ITN-2015/675530 
Action NameANtibioticS and mobile resistance elements in WastEwater Reuse applications: risks and innovative solutions 
Project CoordinatorDr. Despo Fatta-Kassinos 
Beneficiaries
University of Cyprus
Environmental Institute s.r.o
KWR Watercycle Research Institute
The Agriculture Research Organisation of Israel – The Volcani Center
Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas
Adventech – Advanced Environmental Technologies, Lda
Universidade Catolica Portuguesa
Technische Universitaet Dresden
Universita Degli Studi di Salerno
Technische Universität Wien
 
Partners
Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety
Abwasserverband Braunschweig
BioDetection Systems bv
HighChem
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Istituto Superiore di Sanità
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
VA TECH WABAG GmbH
 
Budget3.708.689,76 € 
Project websitehttp://www.answer-itn.eu/ 

Abstract

The major mission of the ANSWER project was to train fifteen ESRs to address the risks associated with chemical and biological contaminants of emerging concern, i.e. antibiotics, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes (A&ARB&ARGs) and urban wastewater reuse. To achieve its overall scientific goal, ANSWER was structured on a multidisciplinary consortium (10 Beneficiaries and 8 Partners from 9 countries) involving experienced researchers (academic/non-academic) from diverse disciplines. In addition, scientists with recognised expertise in the field were involved in the project (either as members of the Advisory Board or as Visiting Scientists) contributing to the training of the ESRs and providing expert opinions and experiences on the scientific aspects of the project.

ANSWER has been able to produce an excellent scientific knowledge around the main five directions of its technical Work Packages. The main scientific outputs were the (i) understanding of the fate and transmission of A&ARB&ARGs within urban wastewater, soil, ground/surface water, and crops (determination of A&ARB&ARGs with highest risk of transfer from wastewater to soils-crops, assessment of the physicochemical factors favoring the persistence of A&ARB&ARGs in soils-crops, determination of the environmental/public health risk factors related with A&ARB&ARGs in soils-crops), (ii) validation of a suitable battery of bioassays for A&ARB&ARGs effects evaluation and hazard identification (development and application of protocols for advanced bioassays for A and their TPs, assessment of the effects of A and of their TPs and relation to antibiotic resistance), (iii) development of a modelling framework capable of predicting the fate and assessing the risks associated with A&ARB&ARGs in activated sludge, soil, waters and crops (development of models on ARB&ARGs passage in soil/water resources affected by wastewater reuse schemes, development of models to assess the impact of conventional/advanced technologies on ARB&ARGs), (iv) assessment of the efficiency of innovative technologies to minimize A&ARB&ARGs (evaluation of the efficiency of innovative technologies to minimize A&ARB&ARGs, development and assessment of the efficacy of new photocatalytic reactors and cost analysis), and (v) development of a web-based database for A, TPs, ARB&ARGs in environmental matrices and development of guidelines for the determination of ELVs of A and their TPs, ARB&ARGs in urban wastewater used for irrigation.

The ESRs have gained maximum exposure of the ANSWER multidisciplinary environment through secondments (41 in total) to the partner organisations, embracing thus the value of interdisciplinary work. The scientific and training core of the project supported by advanced chemical, microbiological, toxicological, modelling, and process engineering tools, along with its strong network organisation and management structure, were essential elements for the successful achievement of its five scientific objectives. A Summer School and 8 Training Events were organised in the framework of the project, which included 10 Specialized Scientific Training Courses on specific issues including practical exercises and 11 complementary/soft skills courses.

Along with its scientific goals, ANSWER ensured via a number of dissemination/communication activities that its outcomes and impacts were widely shared with the respective research and innovation community, including industry, stakeholders, scientists, general public, as well as with EU/national policy makers setting the research agendas of the future. One of the main dissemination/communication outcomes of ANSWER was the development of an educational children’s book titled ″The Secret Handbook of the Blue Circle″, which was produced by the PAPADOPOULOS Publishing in Greek and by the IWA Publishing in English language.

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