Antibiotic resistance is a global threat that is estimated to cause 10 mill deaths annually by 2050. Increased understanding of drivers and transmission routs for antimicrobial resistant (AMR) bacteria is fundamental to mitigate this development. The DisinfectAMR project is addressing the role of disinfectants used in food production facilities and their impact as potential drivers for persistence of AMR. The waste-flow in food production value chains is altered due to focus on circular economy and increased resource exploitation. This emphasise the need for better control of the processes to prevent development and spread of AMR, since AMR bacteria can be reintroduced to new production systems. From a "One-health" perspective, antimicrobial resistance in humans, animals and the environment cannot be viewed separately, thus the whole food production value chain including also feed, process by-products, wastewater and sludge, should be considered with respect to food safety and spread of AMR.
The main aim is to study the effect of commonly used disinfectants in the production of chicken and salmon with respect to bacterial resistance against the disinfectants and possible cross-resistance against antibiotics. The methodology includes advanced technologies such as high-throughput screening, sequencing, digital PCR and BioLector microfermentation. The results will increase the knowledge on development and spread of AMR from sources other than clinical/animal settings and antibiotics use. The outcome will also provide knowledge to optimize the cleaning end disinfection routines at the involved production facilities, especially with respect to biofilm producing foodborne pathogens, and will have direct impact on the processing of feed ingredients from rest raw materials of salmon and chicken. The project has international perspective since similar studies are being performed in Romania, where the use of disinfectants and antibiotics differs from Norwegian practice.
The project addresses the role of food production and the environment as reservoirs of antimicrobial resistant (AMR) bacteria and the impact of disinfectants (DI) as potential drivers for persistence of AMR in two food production plants, and one process plant for feed. Disinfection products play a key role for prevention and control of pathogenic bacteria in food production facilities. However, such chemical selective pressures may co-select for bacterial resistance in the environment, and studies on bacterial susceptibility to DI in food production pipelines have indicated correlations between bacterial antibiotic and DI resistance. From a One-Health perspective, AMR in humans, animals and the environment cannot be viewed separately, and the whole value chain of food production including also feed, process by-products, wastewater, sludge, etc. should be considered with respect to food safety and spread of AMR. The waste-flow in food production value chains is altered due to focus on circular economy and increased resource exploitation. This emphasise the need for better control on the processes in order to prevent the spread and transfer of AMR, since AMR bacteria and genes may be reintroduced to the circular system. To encounter these challenges, the main goal of the project is to study the effect of prolonged use of DI in Norwegian poultry and salmon production in terms of bacterial resistance towards the DI and potential cross-resistance to antibiotics, with direct impact on a process plant for fish feed ingredients which process raw material from both producers. The fundamental understanding of the drivers and pathways for AMR in other than clinical settings and antibiotics use is limited, and this knowledge gap represents a missing link in the One-Health perspective, thus the project will provide urgently needed knowledge. The outcome will be transferable to similar production facilities both national and international.