Researchers at Anand Agricultural University (AAU) in Gujarat, India, have produced a local-language pamphlet on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) to circulate among the poultry stakeholders in Gujarat for World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2021. Building awareness of AMR is an important element of the work the AAU team is undertaking to address the growing threat of AMR.
Other work includes training and capacity building, as well as more traditional research and development.
Dr Haidaruliman Paleja, Project Manager for the One Health Poultry Hub’s Gujarat team, said: “AMR is a complex issue and requires a multidisciplinary and multisectoral approach.”
AMR research and development
Antibiotics are used in food animal production systems worldwide to guard against disease, for treatment and to promote growth. At AAU, researchers have conducted a study to assess the effect of probiotics on broiler poultry performance as an alternative to antibiotic use, as well as on metagenomics and AMR genes screening.
Initial results suggest that antibiotics have a significant effect on broiler poultry performance, followed by probiotics.
Further experiments and review are now needed to strike a balance between restricting antibiotic usage and poultry performance.
AAU researchers have also undertaken studies to identify the AMR genes for different antibiotics found in the microbiome of the gut in chickens. These revealed the presence of the genes in the gut microbiome in chicken against a range of antibiotics.
Four hands-on training courses have been held to provide research skills in advanced molecular diagnostic methods for AMR gene detection and characterisation for researchers in India as well as elsewhere in South and Southeast Asia.
The courses, ‘Molecular Techniques to Monitor and Investigate Antimicrobial Resistance’, were organised under the BBSRC Global Challenges Research Fund Strategic Training Award for a Research Skill (GCRF-STARS) project. They were launched in collaboration with Hub partners the Royal Veterinary College, UK, and Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre, India. As the COVID-19 situation restricted in-person participants to those from India only, two of the programmes were held online and two were offline.
Awareness and understanding of AMR is considered a priority area to combat AMR by the World Health Organization. Moreover, with an increasing consumer awareness of AMR and a demand for quality, residue-free products, it is crucial for poultry producers to understand the issues involved and adopt and practice technologies and concepts that produce safe and hygienic food.
AMR was discussed to create awareness during group meetings AAU researchers held with farmers to introduce and update One Health Poultry Hub activities, as well as during a training programme on Poultry Management they held during the summer. Farmers were advised to follow good animal husbandry practices and take care of biosecurity rather than depending on medicines.
For World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2021, the AAU site designed a pamphlet in the local language and circulated it among poultry stakeholders in Gujarat. The pamphlet describes the use and misuse of antibiotics and the adverse effects this can have on people, animals and the environment.