The company said it would further examine the resistome – the full set of antibiotic resistance genes – of poultry and swine and how feed additives affect it.
The work is one of 12 topics under review in an Austria led initiative involving six academic and 34 industry partners spanning five countries – the €16m project for feed and food quality, safety and innovation (FFoQSI) – that will continue up until 2020.
Biomin brings capital funding to that initiative but will also share analytical tools and equipment with the partners, said Dr Daniel Petri, global product manager, microbials, at the Austrian firm.
“The participants all have a common goal. Antibiotics have high value for human and animal medicine and need to be protected for the future.”
He said this protection would be achieved by limiting the use of antibiotics from a very broad application – prophylactic - to a very narrow and targeted one – treating animals when they are sick.
“In term of methodology, we need an industry standard, as well as KPIs, to move forward and to fully understand resistance.”
He told us a common approach to measuring the impact of products on resistance levels in animals would support innovation at the industrial level and comparable studies would help regulatory bodies assess such functionality in feed additives.
Mode of action of antibiotic resistance
Developing strategies to overcome antimicrobial resistance has been a non-product led research topic at Biomin since 2013. “We have a clear understanding that we need to address this issue. Every year, we see an increase in resistant genes in livestock. We want to communicate on our research as it is taking shape, let people in while we are still working on it,” said Petri.
The firm has been evaluating the mode of action of antibiotic resistance using advanced tools such as high throughput gene sequencing and bioinformatics.
Thus far, results have shown that the replacement of in-feed antibiotics by application of certain feed additives can reduce the presence of antibiotic resistance genes, said Petri.
However, further insight is needed into gene expression and functionality, and the communication between bacteria, to understand why there can be variability in resistance level reduction in the gut of pigs and chickens when exposed to various feed additives, he said.
The industry and academic research partners involved in the FFoQSI initiative are also hoping to find ways to improve mycotoxin detection methodology and get a better understanding of the mode of action of phytogenic feed additives, among other objectives aimed at a more sustainable food and feed chain.