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Antibiotic resistance-free meat and dairy products

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ARMeD_free (Antibiotic resistance-free meat and dairy products)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2017-05-31

Antibiotic resistance (ABR) is a natural form of biological adaptation of some microorganisms that acquire the ability to survive or grow in the presence of a given concentration of an antibiotic agent that is generally able to inhibit growth or kill microorganisms of that species. The misuse of antibiotics has magnified the surge and spread of ABR microbes, with adverse clinical implications. In Europe, 4 million people become infected and 37,000 die each year from antibiotic resistant germs, resulting in yearly direct and indirect costs of nearly 1.5 billion euros.
It is estimated that over 50% of the antibiotics produced worldwide are destined to the farming industry, which eventually disseminate throughout the food chain causing ABR. In this sense, foods that are consumed uncooked, as is the case for several fermented foods, are of particular concern.
To confront the issue of ABR, we have defined two objectives, i) the transfer and validation of semi-automated screening method of antibiotic resistance into our laboratories, and ii) the validation of the bio-intervention strategy, which consisted of testing Sacco Srl strains in laboratory-scale models of fermented foods. In addition, we have conducted customer surveys to assay the interest of food manufacturers to biological solutions to ABR, and a patent search to verify that our solutions do not conflict with existing patents. Finally, a 5-year business plan was developed to assess the financial viability and opportunity of our solution.
We have successfully completed all the objectives stated at the onset of our proposal.
The transfer of semi-automated screening assays to detect ABR in microorganisms has been successful, as evidenced by the congruent results obtained by external and internal laboratories.
The pilot trials have revealed i) that the use of bacterial cultures is an effective strategy to mitigate ABR in fermented foods, and ii) interesting candidate bacteria have been identified that can be next evaluated in field trials to validate our findings in the laboratory.
The patent search has confirmed that there are no existing patents that could conflict with our proposed solution.
We have developed a 5-year business plan based on conservative considerations of today’s markets and existing regulations.
Worldwide, over 700,000 people are estimated to die from antibiotic-resistant infections each year, and these figures are projected to rise to 10 million/year by 2050, making apparent the potential impact of ABR mitigation strategies such as the ones proposed by Sacco Srl. Achieving our goals would signify i) offering consumers healthier products, ii) helping solve a global issue - the antibiotic resistance of pathogens, and iii) reducing the costs and risks of infections due to ABR microorganisms.
Spread of antibiotic-resistance micro-organism in the food chain, and environmental impact