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Prokaryotic commUnities at the southern edge of the Arctic: a Focus on antibiotic resistance in lakes oF the Melrakkaslétta Peninsula (IcelaNd) Title: Prokaryotic commUnities at the southern edge of the Arctic: a Focus on antibiotic resistance in lakes oF the Melrakkaslétta Peninsula (IcelaNd)
Acronym: PUFFIN
Principal Investigator ISP: Angelina Lo Giudice
Leading Institution: Institute of Polar Sciences (CNR-ISP)
Funding: INTER-ACT
Period of activity: 2024 - 2025

PUFFIN aims at sheding light on the effects of climate change and anthropogenic pressures on the prokaryotic resistance to antibiotics, biodiversity and activities in shallow lakes of the Melrakkaslétta Peninsula (Iceland). Wildlife could serve as a point source for antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections in human or domestic animals and provide a reservoir of antimicrobial-resistant genes with potential to spread through horizontal gene transfer. Targeted parameters will be estimated along a gradient of bird-impacted lake watersheds differing in the distance from the coast and the connection with the sea. Traditional techniques and advanced biomolecular methods will be applied to characterize selected lakes in terms of environmental quality and occurrence of antibiotic resistant bacteria and genes. Four different matrices will be analyzed, i.e. lake water and sediment, soil around lake and bird guano. The study of antibiotic resistance in lowly human-impacted site, such as the Melrakkaslétta Peninsula, mainly visited by birds, will furnish a baseline to disentangle the role played by the wildlife in the antibiotic resistance spreading.

The interest of PUFFIN in the microbiology of lakes of the Melrakkaslétta Peninsula lies in the low human-impact level, which is in contrast with the high influence of wildlife (mainly birds) possibly involved in antibiotic resistance spreading.
PUFFIN intends to achieve further information on the microbiology of Arctic inland waters, focusing on antibiotic resistance and contributing to the existing knowledge about the fragile Arctic (and polar in general) lake ecosystem functioning and quality. Analyses will allow a comparison with results previously obtained on the same topic for other higher human-impacted polar freshwater systems, including those accessed thanks to previous INTERACT TA. These concerns are relevant to lakes throughout the world, not just those in the Arctic, as they may help forecast how lake ecosystems at lower latitudes will react to changes by climate change and human activity. Briefly, PUFFIN intends to assess i. the environmental quality through checking of selected parameters; ii. the genetic and phenotypic evidence of antibiotic resistance in bacteria; iii. the prokaryotic community diversity and activities in lakes of the Melrakkaslétta Peninsula.

Project Partners
• Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Messina, Italy

ministero Ministero degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale
L'Italia e l’Artico
L’Italia e l’Antartide

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