NoResist - Combating antimicrobial resistance in the Norwegian food production chain

Antimicrobials revolutionized medicine in the 20th century, but the development of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria is becoming an increasing threat to global public health.

There are numerous routes by which resistant bacteria and resistance genes are spread to and from humans, one being the food chain.

The NoResist project will seek to obtain knowledge on persistence and spread of antimicrobial resistance in the Norwegian food production chain that can be used to prevent, reduce or inhibit such resistance. The prime focus of the project will be on the poultry production chain, which currently is associated with the most serious challenges of antimicrobial resistant bacteria, e.g. extended spectrum betalactamase (ESBL) producing bacteria. The project also addresses the concerns related to the use of coccidiostats like narasin as feed additives.

The Project will identify risk factors for resistance development and spread throughout the production chain. In 2016 all Norwegian broiler farms were sampled repeatedly for the presence and possible persistence of isolates resistant to extended spectrum cephalosporins (ESC). The isolates are being studied and compared with isolates from earlier years, as well as from other compartments in the production chain. Furthermore, work on mechanisms and drivers for transfer of resistance genes in various compartments has started. Biofilm forming abilities of resistant E. coli are being been studied to elucidate the importance of survival and reservoirs in production environments.

In addition, studies on effect of disinfectants on resistant bacteria in biofilm will be performed.

Studies on possible resistance gene reservoirs in environmental bacteria have also started by isolate collection, identification and resistance testing. The gene encoding narasin resistance has been identified in enterococci from Norwegian broiler flocks. This facilitates studies on the possible changes in the prevalence of this resistance form after the farmers stopped using narasin as a feed additive.

NoResist project partners are the Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Nofima and Norwegian Institute of Public Health. The Project will cooperate with the poultry industry through their organization Animalia, and internationally with University of Utah and the Technical University of Denmark. Two postdoc students is part of the project.

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