This project will provide a critical evaluation of the role of antibiotic use in agriculture and in the prophylaxis and treatment of disease in humans.
The emergence and evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria represents a major financial and societal cost. Despite concern that the use of antibiotics in the food chain contributes to the development of resistant bacteria, research has yet to provide the data necessary for the development of an effective risk management strategy. Risk assessment of antibiotic resistant, nonpathogenic bacteria present in the food chain requires data on the sources of these bacteria, their genetic composition and potent ial for resistance transfer.
<P>Strains belonging to Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Lactococcus and Streptococcus thermophilus will be used as they can be found in a wide range of habitats. Moreover, they are industrially important bacteria, used as starter cultures for fermented food. Within this project the importance of these bacteria as a source of antibiotic resistance genes (Work package 1) will be assessed. The project will also examine the transmission of resistance in the environment and in the animal and human gut (WP 2) and establish the genetic basis of the detected resistances and transmission mechanisms (WP 3). Dissemination of results and links with consumers' organization will be provided by WP4; an industrial platform will assure the link with 14 industrial producers of starter cultures. This research will establish a dataset on the occurrence and transmission of antibiotic resistance, which will provide the scientific basis for an antibiotic application strategy to inhibit further development of resistance in pathogenic bacteria.
For more information about this project, please visit the <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/food_quality/projects/027_en.ht…; target="_blank">European Commission Food Quality and Safety in Europe</a> or the <a href="http://www.aceart.org/" target="_blank">ACE-ART </a> Web sites.