Research Combats Antibiotic-resistant Pathogens in Poultry

German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture Grants Amounting to 2.46 Million Euros for EsRAM Research Collaboration Based at Freie Universität Berlin That Studies Ways to Reduce Antibiotic-resistant Pathogens in Poultry / Five Press Images

№ 064/2016 from Mar 09, 2016

The German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) is sponsoring a new research network to explore antibiotic-resistant pathogens in poultry and ultimately, to reduce them. It is being coordinated at Freie Universität Berlin. On Tuesday in Berlin, Federal Minister Christian Schmidt presented the funding decisions totaling 2.46 million euros to the designated coordinator of the network, the director of the Institute of Animal and Environmental Hygiene at the Center for Infectious Diseases at Freie Universität, Prof. Dr. Uwe Rösler, and the representatives of the other project partners. Besides Freie Universität, the partners in EsRAM are the University of Gießen, the University of Leipzig, the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering in Potsdam-Bornim, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment in Berlin, and the Friedrich Loeffler Institute in Jena. The main commercial partners are the Central Association of the German Poultry Industry (Zentralverband der Deutschen Geflügelwirtschaft e. V.) and two international companies in the field of biologics research. The abbreviation EsRAM stands for "Entwicklung stufenübergreifender Reduktionsmaßnahmen für antibiotikaresistente Erreger beim Mastgeflügel" (Development of Reduction Measures for Antibiotic-resistant Pathogens in Poultry). The funding is for a three-year period.

German Federal Minister Christian Schmidt pointed out that it will only be possible to prevent the development of antibiotic resistance if human and veterinary medicine work closely together. To this end, he and Federal Minister Hermann Gröhe from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), supported the One Health Approach called for by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations(FAO), which Germany instituted in 2008. With the 16th amendment of the Medication Act (Arzneimittelgesetz), Germany already established a system for minimizing antibiotic contamination in livestock production. Another important component for avoiding antibiotic resistance is research. That is why the German government is investing in the development of concrete measures and products that show promise for reducing the development and transfer of antibiotic-resistant germs in poultry production.

In recent years there have been more frequent reports about antibiotic-resistant pathogens in livestock. This includes livestock that are being fattened, as they are particularly affected by resistant pathogens from the family of Enterobacteriaceae (ESBL) and Methicilin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Within the EsRAM project, procedures and measures are to be developed that will reduce the development and transfer of antibiotic-resistant pathogens in the production of broilers (chickens raised for meat production) and the poultry meat chain. In particular, the researchers aim to advance new and improved methods and technologies for the disinfection of hatching eggs and hatching egg hygiene in general. They are also working on developing methods for reducing bacteria stemming from manure and rinsing water from poultry husbandry; they are developing and optimizing husbandry parameters, hygiene measures and feeding schemes for reducing the occurrence of ESBL in broilers. In addition, they aim to develop prebiotics, probiotics, and phytogenic additives aimed to reduce the colonization of the intestine with resistant organisms and to promote the intestinal health of broilers. The researchers also aim to optimize established methods for slaughtering and processing broilers and develop new methods for reducing the transfer of antibiotic-resistant pathogens during slaughter and processing. They are also developing an electronic, data-based assessment tool for the synergistic production stage overarching reduction of antibiotic-resistant pathogens in the entire poultry chain. The overall aim is to produce poultry meat with a significantly reduced amount of antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

The involved researchers at Freie Universität work in the following institutes at the Department of Veterinary Medicine: the Institute of Animal and Environmental Hygiene, the Institute of Meat Hygiene and Technology, the Institute of Poultry Diseases, the Institute of Food Hygiene, and the Institute of Animal Nutrition. The EsRAM research network is an important nationwide collaborative research project within the Veterinary Center for Resistance Research (Tierärztlichen Zentrums für Resistenzforschung, TZR), which is currently being established at Freie Universität. The TZR is funded by the German federal and Berlin state governments in accordance with Article 91.b GG. The involved researchers are dedicated to the research and treatment of anti-infective resistance in livestock and veterinary medicine.

Press Images:

(The photos may be reproduced free of charge, provided the respective credit is given.)



  • Image 1:
    From left to right.: Federal Minister Christian Schmidt – German Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture, Prof. Dr. Uwe Rösler – Freie Universität Berlin (Project Coordinator)
    Credit: BMEL/ Photothek/ Thomas Koehler


  • Image 2:
    From left to right.: Leo Graf von Drechsel – Zentralverband der Deutschen Geflügelwirtschaft e. V., Federal Minister Christian Schmidt – German Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture, Prof. Dr. Uwe Rösler – Freie Universität Berlin (Project Coordinator)

    Credit: BMEL/ Photothek/ Thomas Koehler


  • Image 3:
    From left to right.: Leo Graf von Drechsel – Zentralverband der Deutschen Geflügelwirtschaft e. V., Dr. Juliane Bräunig – German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, Dr. Hans-Christian Philipp – Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica GmbH, Federal Minister Christian Schmidt – German Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture, Prof. Dr. Christa Ewers – Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, Prof. Dr. Uwe Rösler – Freie Universität Berlin (Project Coordinator), Dr. Thilo Borchardt – EW Nutrition GmbH, Prof. Dr. Thomas Amon – Leibniz-Institut für Agrartechnik Potsdam-Bornim e. V.
    Credit: BMEL/ Photothek/ Thomas Koehler


  • Image 4:
    Pathogens from the family of enterobacteria (ESBL) producing Escherichia coli in a petri dish
    Credit: Institute of Animal and Environmental Hygiene, Freie Universität Berlin


  • Image 5:
    Taking samples in a barn
    Credit: Institute of Animal and Environmental Hygiene, Freie Universität Berlin

Further Information

Uwe Rösler, Univ.-Prof. Dr., Institute of Animal and Environmental Hygiene, Center for Infectious Medicine, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-51830,. Email: uwe.roesler@fu-berlin.de

Link to the Homepage

www.vetmed.fu-berlin.de/einrichtungen/institute/we10/