ANSWER: Antimicrobial resistance in waste water

Belebtschlammflocke aus der Kläranlage

Horizon 2020 project "ANSWER" – Antibiotics and mobile resistance elements in wastewater re-use applications: risks and innovative solutions

Every year, 25,000 people fall victim to multidrug-resistant bacteria in Europe (ECDC/EMA Report 2009). Wastewater and sewage treatment plants contaminated with wastewater from hospitals, industrial plants agriculture and private households are central hubs of antibiotic drug resistance. The wastewater and sewage treatment technologies being currently used cannot remove antimicrobials and antimicrobial drug resistances adequately. Treated water used as drinking water or to irrigate soil is a potential source of such resistances. Thus, we and a new generation of scientists, are looking to find an "ANSWER" to the following questions:

  • Which mechanisms are beneficial for producing and spreading antibiotic drug resistances in wastewater and sewage sludge?
  • What are the risks of irrigating with treated water? 
  • What methods or intervention measures could be applied to mitigate the dispersal of antimicrobial drug resistances from this source? 
  • What information is required to give lawmakers tools for scientifically-based, regulatory interventions to protect the population?

A total of 18 institutions from nine countries will collaborate on this project for four years. AGES will train a young scientist together with the Vienna University of Technology at the Department of Medical Microbiology to analyse and examine questions on horizontal gene transfer in antibiotic drug resistance genes in wastewater and sewage sludge. AGES will provide its many years of experience and expertise in the field of real time PCR detection for resistance genes in the soil and will be responsible for scientific advice.

Project title: ANtibioticS and mobile resistance elements in WastEwater Reuse applications: risks and innovative solutions (ANSWER)
Funding body: Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks – HORIZON 2020 / EU research framework (ANSWER — H2020-MSCA-ITN-2015)
Project duration: 48 months, start: October 2015
Website: Pressreleases der TU Wien

Project coordinator: Dr. Despo Fatta-Kassinos, University of Cyprus (Cyprus)
Project manager Austria: Ass. Prof. Dr. Norbert Kreuzinger, Technische Universität Wien (Austria)
Project team: University of Cyprus (Cyprus), Environmental Institute (Slovak Republic),
KWR Water B.V. (Netherlands), Volcani Centre (Israel), Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Spain), Adventech (Portugal), Universidade Catolica Portuguesa (Portugal), Technische Universitaet Dresden (Germany), Universita degli studi di Salerno (Italy), Technische Universität Wien (Austria), AGES - Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (Austria), Abwasserverband Braunschweig (Germany), Biodetection Systems BV (Netherlands), HighChem (Slovakia), The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel), Istituto Superiore di Sanità (Italy), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany), VA TECH WABAG GmbH (Austria).

EU emblem

Acknowledgements: This project is part of a project that has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 675530.

Disclaimer: The content of this article reflects only the authors' views and the Research Executive Agency is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.


Dr. Markus Wögerbauer
Phone: +43 50 555-25717
Spargelfeldstraße 191
1220 Wien

Dr. Markus Wögerbauer
Phone: +43 50 555-25717
Spargelfeldstraße 191
1220 Wien