The spread of multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria in food-producing animals including broilers is a global public health concern.
Controlling growth of MDR bacteria and limiting the transmission of antimicrobial resistance genes in broilers could be an effective mitigation strategy. To counteract the spread of MDR bacteria among zoonotic pathogens in food-producing animals and reduce the risk of their transmission to humans or the environment, antibiotic use in animal husbandry has to be reduced. Bacteriophage therapy is increasingly accepted as an environmentally-friendly antimicrobial intervention strategy, effective at specifically targeting bacterial pathogens, to prevent the transmission of resistant bacteria from foods to humans and vice versa.
We use MDR Salmonella and E. coli in broilers as a model and will first select the most efficient phage combinations to specifically reduce these bacteria and MDR plasmids in broilers. Using laboratory, an experimental chicken gut model and farm-level experiments, we will then establish the efficacy of phage formulations as feed additives within a commercial farming context to reduce bacterial numbers and progressively reduce MDR plasmid carriage in broilers. We will test the effect of phage therapy on intestinal parameters of the treated broilers and also on the broiler intestinal microbiome and resistome composition. We will investigate the transmission of AMR plasmids between different enterobacteria in the broiler gut and improve on-site detection of MDR foodborne pathogens as an early warning system at farm level.
- Ulrich Dobrindt, Universität Münster, Germany (Coordinator)
- Clara Marín-Orenga, Universidad Cardenal Herrera – CEU, Spain
- Muna Anjum, Animal and Plant Health Agency, United Kingdom
- Raul Fernandez Lopez, Universidad de Cantabria, Spain
- Danish Malik, Loughborough University, United Kingdom
- Annamária Szmolka, Veterinary Medical Research Institute, Hungary
- Eliora Ron, Tel Aviv University, Israel