Grant to help fill gaps in how livestock manure management affects antibiotic resistance


Source: Iowa State University

via Newswise - 16-Feb-2021


Newswise ?AMES, Iowa ?What does manure have in common with antibiotic resistance? For starters, they both stink, though in different ways. But there might be even more to the relationship than that.


Researchers at Iowa State University recently received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture抯 National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study how manure management systems in livestock production affect the development of bacteria capable of resisting antibiotics. The effort builds on previous research the scientists have conducted to determine how livestock production interacts with other complex factors, such as environmental processes, to contribute to antibiotic resistance.


Antibiotic resistance is the process by which disease-causing bacteria develop the ability to protect themselves against medications used to stop them. Antibiotic resistance poses a growing threat to human, animal and environmental health because the speed of resistance currently outstrips the speed with which new antibiotics are being developed, said Adina Howe, an assistant professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering and principal investigator on the grant. This trend could limit the availability of treatments for a range of maladies and infections, both in humans and animals.牋


揟he reason this is so important is we cannot discover new antibiotics fast enough to fill in for the medications that are losing their effectiveness,?Howe said.


The researchers?work will fill gaps in science抯 understanding of how livestock production, particularly manure management, can reduce the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The majority of antibiotics in use today are used in animal production, Howe said. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria can wind up in manure before making their way into the environment, such as when manure is applied to fields as fertilizer. The researchers aim to figure out what resistant genes are proliferating in bacteria and how widely those bacteria spread and persist in soil.


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