An Environmental Component of a “One Health” approach
Develop practical tools and protocols to measure antibiotic drugs, resistant bacteria and resistance genes in agriculturally-impacted soil, water, air, and food; design and evaluate agricultural best management practices to limit the persistence and spread of antibiotic resistance from agroecosystems; facilitate sharing of ideas and resources among ARS scientists by establishing an agency-wide network of researchers with the common goal of conducting science-based research on AgAR topics.
Which drugs are the most relevant for each type of ag production system? At what level do excreted drugs continue to provide selective pressure in the environment?.
What is the relative contribution of specific bacteria to resistance in human clinical settings? Are some bacteria more likely than others to donate or receive resistance genes? What is the relative contribution of clonal spread of pathogens versus horizontal gene transfer?
How long do specific types of genes persist in agricultural samples? What conditions increase or decrease the likelihood of a successful transfer in manure, soil, water, and air? What is the role of the natural soil “resistome”?
AgAR Network Goals
Connect ARS researchers at multiple locations in order to develop and assess methods for measuring resistance that are robust, and that are validated across production systems and geographical areas.
Identify which types of resistance are relevant to measure, based on an understanding of individual production systems and prioritized human health threats as identified by WHO and CDC
Encourage the collection of baseline data and control samples so that the impact of agricultural best management practices can be accurately determined.
Assess persistence of antibiotic drugs, resistant bacteria and resistance genes in environmental and pre-harvest settings.
Long term goal: Discover the details of how, and at what rate bacteria and genes move back and forth between animals and humans through agricultural systems (soil, water, air wildlife, insects, and food).