Animal antibiotic study launched by Colorado State University
Colorado State University researchers are conducting a series of studies to track antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the animal agriculture industry in an effort to determine if farm practices are contributing to problems on antibiotic resistance.
Using a $2.25 million grant from the USDA, the scientists will focus on the DNA of these bacteria to help identify and trace back where such organisms become drug-resistant. The seven research projects will focus mostly on beef and dairy operations, though some of the research will be conducted on hog and poultry farms. The projects are expected to begin in the coming weeks, Morley said.
“We’re trying to answer the question, ‘Are agricultural production systems truly affecting human health by increasing antimicrobial resistance?'” said veterinarian Paul Morley, a professor of epidemiology and infection control at Colorado State University, Fort Collins.
Using DNA sequencing technology, Morley and Keith Belk, professor in the school’s Center for Meat Safety and Quality, and others plan to trace the specific genes that cause resistance in bacteria. That, they hope, will help them uncover sources and ways such “superbugs” travel between animals and humans, said Morley, one of the lead researchers in the project.
Partners on the three-year project include the CSU departments of Computer Science; Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences; Education; and Food Science and Human Nutrition. Others include the Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Public Health Agency of Canada, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and industry collaborators providing access to their animals.