Federal grant money to research food pathogens

Photo courtesy of Envato Elements

From staff reports

More than $5 billion is being dedicated to the Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria National Action Plan 2020-2025. The investment money is coming from the national Institute of Food and Agriculture, a department that falls under the USDA umbrella. “Pathogen resistance to antimicrobials is a complex problem, encompassing human medicine, poultry and livestock health, and even plant crop production,” said Acting NIFA Director Dr. Dionne Toombs. “The projects supported through this investment will work to ensure a safe, nutritious and abundant food supply while conserving antimicrobial effectiveness.”

The funding is being used to mitigate antimicrobial resistance in the food chain with research grants. NIFA says that the grants are to be used for research, education and extension projects. Those projects will then focus on risk assessment, antibiotic management and stewardship and learning about emerging resistant pathogens and diseases. 

Nine projects are being funded, totaling $5,117,165. Examples of the funded projects include:

  • Florida is the largest citrus producer in the U.S., but the citrus industry relies on the application of medically important antibiotics to control citrus greening disease, which has reduced Florida citrus production by 70%. Scientists at the University of Florida will study the effects on naturally occurring bacteria when citrus greening disease-infected trees are sprayed with antibiotics to characterize the development of antimicrobial resistance. ($299,999)
  • Scientists at the Iowa State University of Science and Technology will model the movement of bacteria through different environments, such as surface and subsurface water, as a route for bacterial movement from animal and human waste to plant crops. ($1,000,000)
  • Scientists in Veterinary Preventive Medicine at The Ohio State University will study the movement of auctioned male calves through the market to better understand the use of antimicrobial drugs to prevent and treat disease. ($999,938)

This research will help strengthen USDA’s overall efforts to protect public health through agricultural research that addresses antimicrobial resistance (AMR). To learn more, visit USDA’s AMR website.

NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education and extension across the nation to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA supports initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture and applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice. In FY 2021, NIFA’s total investment was $1.96 billion.

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