The researchers are part of a team that will study effective mitigation strategies for antimicrobial resistance in beef and dairy cattle.
Two Texas Tech University researchers are part of a team that was recently awarded one of 35 food safety grants by the United States Department of Agriculture that promotes safe, nutritious food.
Mayukh Dass, the J.B. Hoskins Associate Professor of Marketing and the director of the Rawls Business Leadership Program in the Rawls College of Business, and Guy Loneragan, a professor of food safety and public health in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, are part of a team led by Texas A&M researcher H. Morgan Scott.
The grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will support research that focuses on effective mitigation strategies for antimicrobial resistance in beef and dairy cattle. Loneragan said the researchers will work together to develop, test and implement practical approaches to help preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics for human and veterinary medicine.
“Antibiotic resistance is one of today's most complex grand challenges,” Loneragan said. “We are thrilled to be part of a diverse team, and our collective goal is to discover and test practical solutions that effectively combat antibiotic resistance. This helps protect human health while maintaining a vibrant and productive livestock industry.”
Antimicrobials, which includes antibiotics, are widely used to treat and prevent the growth of bacteria in both humans and cattle. In recent years, however, strains of bacteria have become increasingly resistant to antibiotics, which leads to concern about the effectiveness of their use.
This research hopes to answer those concerns through the development of a program by which stakeholders will take responsibility for effectively treating animals with antibiotics.
“Determining the stakeholders and their decision process in the beef and dairy cattle system will not only help us determine the ecosystem of the industry, but will provide us a great opportunity to learn how antimicrobial resistance in animals is effecting the meat business,” Dass said. “This award exemplifies the type of impactful research our faculty members are doing with other researchers in the world and the crucial role played by our university on our community members' health and businesses.”
Loneragan said the research is an interdisciplinary, international project to bring together technological, social science and economic aspects to address a complex societal need.
According to the research proposal, the goal of the project is to identify and develop practical, effective and widely adoptable methods for managing antimicrobial resistance to intestinal bacteria. Through a system-based, stakeholder-centered process, the team will create science-based stewardship programs suited to animal production.
Other members of the research team include Yrjö T. Gröhn of Cornell University, Ellen R. Jordan and Jason Sawyer of the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension, Alex W. McIntosh of Texas A&M and Gerald R. Midgley of the University of Hull in England.
The team will recruit stakeholders to develop ways to increase voluntary compliance with the stewardship programs; conduct field studies that will yield crucial data to support the stewardship from microbiological, production, economic and social science perspectives; develop qualitative and quantitative models to design, test and improve support tools; and rely on key stakeholders to advance support tools that will enhance voluntary adoption and diffusion and maximize antimicrobial stewardship.
To read the full grant proposal, visit the NIFA website.