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Consequences of antimicrobial use in aquaculture on human health and the aquatic ecosystem

Grant number: 22/08804-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2023
Effective date (End): March 31, 2025
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Analytical Chemistry
Principal Investigator:Susanne Rath
Grantee:Anna Paula Rocha de Queiroga
Host Institution: Instituto de Química (IQ). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


Aquaculture is on the rise all over the world. Among its practices, the most prominent is fish farming, since fish represent the main group of aquaculture species produced. Tilapia is one of the fish with the greatest potential for aquaculture due to several characteristics that make it suitable for industrialization and the most cultivated species in Brazil. With the growing aquaculture production in the country, there is an increase in diseases caused by bacteria in intensive/superintensive fish production systems, due to the stress provided by the higher population density of animals, which lead to great economic losses. In this sense, the use of antimicrobials helps in a greater intensity of production, acting effectively as a therapeutic and/or preventive measure of diseases within a system. Among these, florfenicol is one of the medicines authorized in Brazil for use in tilapia and their hybrids. However, recent findings suggest that the use of antimicrobials results in an increase in antimicrobial resistance, which can impact animal, human and environmental health. Thus, the project aims to carry out a risk assessment of the use of florfenicol antimicrobials in tilapia, including residual depletion tests, establishment of grace periods and exposure calculations. Still, the objective is to evaluate the emergence of antimicrobial resistance, since it can impact animal production, decreasing the effectiveness of the drug, or the animal's immune system, but also, and even more importantly, can spread strains of bacteria. more virulent to the aquatic ecosystem. Trials with tilapia will be carried out in cooperation with Prof. Fabiana Pilarski from UNESP in Jaboticabal. The quantification of residues in fish, water and feed will be performed using liquid chromatography associated with sequential mass spectrometry. High-throughput DNA sequencing (shotgun-type metagenomic analysis) will be performed at the Helmholtz Zentrum in Munich. Exposure assessment will be conducted in accordance with the procedure adopted by the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization (FAO/WHO JECFA).

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