Detect and eliminate environmentally associated infection events in urban areas in NRW

Detect and eliminate environmentally associated infection events in urban areas in NRW

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the threat to human health posed by the emergence and spread of infectious diseases caused by viruses, bacteria and parasites. In particular, antibiotic resistance (ABR) is on the rise, due in part to the massive use of disinfectants outside hospitals during the Corona pandemic. If no countermeasures are taken, it seems likely to the scientific community that in the future even so-called trivial infections may no longer be treatable.

To contain these massive risks, data collection and analysis are needed. Here, the investigation of wastewater offers itself as a monitoring medium to gain information on further relevant pathogens (e.g. antibiotic-resistant pathogens, antibiotics, etc.) in a larger holistic context. However, this approach has not been systematically pursued in a uniform manner in Germany to date, but has only been used for SARS-Cov-2. In this context, wastewater represents an information-rich matrix for the detection of pathogens as well as antibiotic resistance and administered drugs. In the long term, the wastewater network could be developed into a map of health status as well as resistance status. A precise understanding of the distribution of pathogens and antibiotics in the wastewater network forms the basis of the analysis of potential threats to public health.

This is the starting point for the proposed project "Detecting and eliminating environmentally associated infection events in urban areas in NRW". It includes the detection and description of pathogens (by genome sequencing) and antibiotics (by mass spectrometry) and the evaluation of strategies for the degradation of antibiotics in wastewater by photocatalysis .

The project is divided into two subprojects; both project parts coordinate sampling from the Essen wastewater network in cooperation with the Emschergenossenschaft, analysis and evaluation of the samples, act in direct symbiosis with each other and accordingly pursue two interrelated goals:

Goal 1

Development and optimization of detection and analysis methods in wastewater as a basis for sustainable and long-term wastewater monitoring in terms of health protection: wastewater epidemiology

Goal 2

Development and optimization of methods for effective purification of drug or microbiological loads using selected examples: Photocatalysis

Duration: 3 Jahre


1.Prof. Dr. Torsten C. Schmidt, Instrumental Analytical Chemistry
2.Prof. Dr. Bernd Sures, Aquatic Ecology
3.Prof. Dr. Folker Meyer & PD Dr. Dr. Ricarda Schmithausen, Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, Universitätsklinikum

Coordination: Dr. Michael Eisinger, ZWU

Sponsorship Amount: 384.000 €