From farm management to bacteriophage therapy: strategies to reduce antibiotic use in animal agriculture

Kahn LH, Bergeron G, Bourassa MW, De Vegt B, Gill J, Gomes F, Malouin F, Opengart K, Ritter GD, Singer RS, Storrs C, Topp E

To reduce the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture, a number of effective or commercially viable alternatives have been implemented by food animal producers or are under development. Perhaps the most well-established strategies are flock and herd management practices to mitigate disease introduction and spread, and, subsequently, reduce the need for antibiotic use. While vaccines in food animal production have been used to prevent both bacterial and viral diseases, but historically, most vaccines have targeted viral diseases. Though vaccines against viral diseases can help reduce the need for antibiotic use by controlling the spread of secondary bacterial infections, more recent vaccines under development specifically target bacteria. New developments in selecting and potentially tailoring bacteriophages provide a promising avenue for controlling pathogenic bacteria without the need for traditional small-molecule antibiotics. In this article we discuss these established and emerging strategies, which are anticipated to reduce the reliance on antibiotics in food animal production and should reduce the prevalence and transmission to humans of antimicrobial resistant bacteria from these systems.

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1441:31-39