Harvesting new antimicrobial resistance insights with Agriculture Victoria Research

March 20 2023

Antibiotics revolutionized modern medicine. But misuse has created a problem that looms over One Health: antimicrobial resistance (AMR). AMR infections can have serious consequences for humans, animals, agriculture, healthcare systems, and economies around the globe. Our new pilot is planting the seeds for solutions that will allow us to fight back.

Harvesting AMR insights in Australia

Agriculture’s wide use of antibiotics—some countries’ animal sectors account for 80% of medically important antibiotic consumption, according to the WHO—makes farms fertile ground for AMR gene presence and abundance. Research at the farm level, like our Project Agricultural AMR Surveillance (“A2S” for short) with Agriculture Victoria Research, will be crucial to understanding how AMR develops. The insights could reveal new opportunities to further One Health’s mission of optimizing health for people, animals, and the environment.

The A-to-Z on A2S

A2S is an 8-week antimicrobial gene detection program taking place at Ellinbank SmartFarm. We’ll leverage our bioinformatics and biosecurity expertise to advise on sequencing, data interpretation, and sample collection. 

Eighty samples will be taken from different surfaces and locations on the farm, with an emphasis on wastewater. Samples will be screened for known AMR markers at the Agriculture Victoria Research MSPD laboratory. Each sample will be analyzed to assess whether the quality and quantity of metagenomic DNA—genetic material from the environment—is sufficient for sequencing. If the sample meets the requirements for use, it will then be processed for the detection of pathogens and AMR genes. Taking aim at metagenomic DNA will help our teams simplify the sampling and sequencing process and allow us to focus the scope on attaining the most valuable insights around AMR.

A2S will give One Health room to grow

AMR is a serious threat, and it’s only getting worse. This pilot could be a foundation for developing collection methods and surveillance protocols for future AMR programs. As part of Ginkgo Biosecurity’s growing portfolio of wastewater work, it allows us to examine a different facet of passive surveillance’s role in a global immune system. 

To learn more about A2S or how we can help you with AMR, please get in touch.


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