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BM-FARM project

Aim of Project | Project Tasks | Consortium

The excessive use of antimicrobials (AMs) in both humans and animals has resulted in the proliferation of bacteria resistant to most available antibiotics (multi-resistant bacteria) that have also spread to the environment. When these bacteria infect humans, there is no treatment to stop them and it is expected more deaths due to this microorganisms than due to cancer by 2050.

Pigs are the main AM user in volume, especially in-feed, and there is a need for methods to reduce the use of AMs and the amount of multi-resistant bacteria present in pig farms. However, antibiotics are not the problem and are just the consequence of other measures failing to control infectious diseases in pig farms. A better understanding of the relationship between the host (pig), the pathogen and the environment they share will result in lower levels of clinical disease and dramatic reductions in antimicrobial use (AMU) and AMR.

BM Farm project graphic showing extensive expertise in the area of prudent AMU

Project BM-FARM includes extensive expertise in the area of prudent AMU and has identified two opportunities for further research:

  • the use of biomarkers (molecules to study the physiological status of the animal) to manage pig health and welfare.
  • the use of new molecular technologies to manage microbial populations in pig farms.

BM-FARM consortium combines Teagasc and UCD expertise in prudent AMU in pig farm with the expertise of leading groups in the areas of animal biomarker analysis (Universidad de Murcia) and microbiome analysis and interpretation (INRAE). Altogether, BM-FARM includes expertise and ambition to not only understand disease and reduce AMU but ultimately maximize the reduction of multi-resistant bacteria.

Aim of Project

BMFARM aims to further characterize the health and welfare status of the farms by describing the physiological status of the animal and the microbiological environment where they live and then study how these characteristics are associated to husbandry and clinical disease and use them to monitor health risks. The specific objectives are:

  • Characterize the microbiome and resistome of farms based of husbandry practices and health and welfare status (cross-sectional approach).
  • Characterize the biomarker profile of farms based of husbandry practices and health and welfare status (cross-sectional approach).
  • Develop multivariable indicators of farm status combining new and available information.
  • Study the evolution of multivariable indicators following selected farm interventions (longitudinal approach).
  • Study the effects of farm interventions on AMR, especially multi-resistant bacteria, and how this relate to changes on multivariable indicators.

Duration: 3 years       
Running period: February 1, 2021 – January 31, 2024

The BM-farm project is part of the first call of Era-Net ICRAD (International coordination of research on infectious diseases) Transnational Collaborative Research Projects: https://www.icrad.eu/2020/11/24/co-funded-call-results/ and is part of the horizon result booster program ArMoR: https://www.roadmap-h2020.eu/armor-project-group.html

Project Tasks

BM-FARM project has 5 main research tasks  

  1. Cross sectional characterization of farms for biomarker profile and microbial populations
  2. Longitudinal study of farm interventions using multivariable indicators to assess effects
  3. Microbial population analysis 
  4. Biomarker analysis
  5. Development of multivariable indicators of sensitivity to disease in pig herds


Edgar Garcia Manzanilla

Pig Development Department,
Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, P61 C996, Ireland

Email: edgar.garciamanzanilla@teagasc.ie

Nola Leonard / Mario Ornelas

School of Veterinary Medicine,

University College Dublin, Belfield Dublin 4, Dublin, Ireland

Jose Joaquin Cerón Madrigal / Lorena Franco Martínez

Interdisciplinary Laboratory of Clinical Analysis, Interlab-UMU,

Campus Mare Nostrum’, University of Murcia, 30100 Murcia, Spain

Jordi Estellé Fabrellas

AgroParisTech, GABI, INRAE

Université Paris-Saclay, 78350, Jouy-en-Josas, France