Anglo-Chinese researchers tackle poultry antibiotic resistance

AGA Nanotech, a British company specialising in nanotechnology, has announced it is the UK’s lead partner in an Anglo-Chinese research study to prevent antibiotic resistance in poultry.

The study, which started in early February 2019 and is a 30-month intensive project, will engage researchers from AGA Nanotech (AGA) and Shanghai Veterinary Research Institute and a major Chinese poultry company, as well as other UK based bodies like the Scottish Rural University College and the Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIEL). A UK poultry company will also be joining the consortium.

The £1 million programme was established from a call from the Department of Health (UK) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (China), which were seeking innovative contributions to the problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and antibiotic resistance in animal husbandry.

AGA and its partners will be working on a solution to reduce the use of antibiotics and eliminate antibiotic resistance in poultry, a global issue in the healthcare and food industries. The research will aim to replace antibiotics used in poultry with AGA’s innovative antimicrobial technology, which is an alternative to conventional antibiotic agents.

Adrian Fellows, R&D director at AGA said: “Poultry meat is one of the most common sources of protein in the world, and it is consumed in all areas of the world, not just wealthy nations.

“This research project has such potential, because we believe, if successful, we can deliver it at a price point where it can be used in both developed and developing nations.”

The Scottish Rural University College, AGA’s partner institution, will conduct trials, which will also be mirrored in China. The researchers will be checking microorganisms and bacteria in chickens, while making sure that the treatment is holistically beneficial to the chickens and that they don’t show any adverse symptoms, or lose weight gain.

Antibiotic resistant bloodstream infections continue to rise in England, with an average 35% increase from 2013 to 2017.

Fellows added, “If this research is a success, it will be possible to breed the required amount of animals without creating the health problems caused by the excessive use of antibiotics. It would eliminate or greatly reduce the use of antibiotics in poultry and help eliminate residues in farm lands, ensuring safety to poultry. Positive results of the project would be also transferable to preventing antibiotic resistance in pork.”