Plastic pollution as a novel reservoir for the environmental survival of the drug resistant fungal pathogen Candida auris

Ayorinde Akinbobola, Ryan Kean, Richard S Quilliam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The WHO recently classified Candida auris as a fungal pathogen of "critical concern". Evidence suggests that C. auris emerged from the natural environment, yet the ability of this pathogenic yeast to survive in the natural environment is still poorly understood. The aim of this study, therefore, was to quantify the persistence of C. auris in simulated environmental matrices and explore the role of plastic pollution for facilitating survival and potential transfer of C. auris. Multi-drug resistant strains of C. auris persisted for over 30 days in river water or seawater, either planktonically, or in biofilms colonising high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or glass. C. auris could be transferred from plastic beads onto simulated beach sand, particularly when the sand was wet. Importantly, all C. auris cells recovered from plastics retained their pathogenicity; therefore, plastic pollution could play a significant role in the widescale environmental dissemination of this recently emerged pathogen.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115841
Pages (from-to)115841
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume198
Early online date6 Dec 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Anti-fungal drug resistance
  • Bathing water quality
  • Beach sand
  • Environmental pathogens
  • Human exposure
  • Plastisphere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Aquatic Science
  • Oceanography

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