FARMS-SAFE project in Argentina

FARMS-SAFE: Future-proofing Antibacterial resistance Risk Management Surveillance and Stewardship in the Argentinian Farming Environment

What is the problem? 

Antimicrobial drug resistance (AMR) is a global threat to health and development and a problem that is getting steadily worse. Within Latin America, Argentina has been tracking levels of AMR in human infections for over 30 years and was the first country in the region to develop a national strategy for the control of AMR. However, data for antimicrobial use is extremely limited and the amount of AMR bacteria on farms and in the near-farm environment is poorly understood.

Furthermore, whilst antibiotic residues are monitored in foodstuffs entering the formal market, there is a significant informal market, and antibiotic levels in the environment are not routinely measured. One potential response to the rising threat of AMR is regulation, and both international organisations - led by the World Health Organisation - and individual countries have sought to formulate, for example, new regulatory frameworks to address the and use of antimicrobials in farming, as well as the management of farm waste. The UK government recognises that developing countries like Argentina need support and information to adequately train veterinarians, develop regulations, build surveillance capacity and improve farming practices with a view to addressing AMR.

Research programme

The premise of this project is that, as well as providing better surveillance information for AMR and antimicrobial usage (AMU), FARMS-SAFE's extra support for Argentina and other Latin American countries should encompass a risk-based approach to the design of regulation as well as to the strengthening of enforcement capacities; their weakness is another source of risk.

FARMS-SAFE will address this issue by reference to four key risk areas via an UK/Argentinian research consortium: 

  1. Animal disease as a driver of AMR risk - the project will identify why farmers use antimicrobials in the context of animal disease. 
  2. Animal husbandry practice as a driver of AMR risk - the project will identify what farm management practices are being employed that influence antimicrobial use (AMU) and will perform surveillance of the usage of antibiotics on farms in Argentina.
  3. Farm waste management as a driver of AMR risk. The team will perform surveillance of AMR bacteria with clear potential to affect human health on farms in the near-farm environment and will measure the levels of antimicrobials and other chemicals in the near-farm environment. The team will correlate AMR with antibiotic usage and will identify management risk factors for AMR and antimicrobial contamination in the environment.
  4. Regulatory capacity as a driver of AMR risk. The team will identify the key individuals and organisations involved in the regulation of AMR and work with them to develop tools that can be used to regulate in a way that is informed by the risks that drive AMR. 

The study regions are the densely populated livestock areas around Buenos Aires as well as the more rural Rio Cuarto.  

Anticipated outcomes

This work will lead to significant new understanding of the prevalence and causes of AMR in Argentinian farming systems, how this influences the near-farm environment (and so potentially influences human health) and will inform policy making within Argentina, Latin America and the wider world. The research programme's team will also create a surveillance structure and train researchers who can continue to monitor AMR, AMU and environmental contamination with antimicrobials and AMR into the future, and who can measure success and failure of strategies employed to reduce this risk. 

Farmsafe project researchers
FARMS-SAFE Researchers

Researchers involved

  • Prof Kristen Reyher (Bristol Veterinary School)
  • Prof Rodolfo Luzbel de la Sota (Universidad Nacional De La Plata, Argentina)
  • Dr Nora Mestorino (Universidad Nacional De La Plata, Argentina)
  • Prof Matthew Avison (School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine)
  • Prof David Demeritt (King's College London)
  • Dr Federico Luna (SENASA)
  • VM Lisandro Ruiz (SENASA)
  • Dr Matias Pellegrino (Universidad Nacional de Río Cuarto)
  • Prof Jose Giraudo (Universidad Nacional de Río Cuarto)
  • Dr Maria Laura Marchetti (Universidad Nacional De La Plata, Argentina)
  • Dr Vanina Madoz (Universidad Nacional De La Plata, Argentina)
  • Dr Susan Conlon (Bristol Veterinary School)
  • Dr Oliver Mounsey (School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine)
  • Dr Lauren Blake (School of Geographical Sciences)
  • Dr Judy Bettridge (Bristol Veterinary School)


Global AMR Innovation Fund (GAMRIF, managed by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)) and UK Aid (UK funding administered by UK Research and Innovation-BBSRC) and Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas de Argentina (CONICET)


Prof Kristen Reyher
Tel: +44 (0) 117 33 19321
website: AMR Force research group

Project Manager
Dr Marco Ramirez Montes de Oca

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