A three-year grant under the Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) Program by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the South African Department of Science and Technology was recently awarded to Prof Lise Korsten and her research team from the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Pretoria (UP). The research project will focus on characterising and tracking antimicrobial resistance in the water-plant-food public health interface, which is regarded as an emerging water, sanitation and hygiene issue.
The PEER initiative followed the launch by the World Health Organisation of a global action plan on antimicrobial resistance during May 2015. The mapping of antibiotic resistance in the agro-ecosystem will contribute to the implementation of the National Antibiotic Resistance Strategy Framework in South Africa. It is a collaborative project involving UP, the University of Fort Hare and the Environmental Microbiological Food Safety Laboratory (EMFSL) of the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.
Dr Germán Villamizar Rodríguez from the University of Oviedo, Spain, also recently joined the PEER research team at UP. He has more than ten years of expertise developing and applying molecular techniques for the detection and identification of different types of organisms. His research interests are mainly in the development and application of molecular techniques for detection and tracking of pathogens in food and water, in order to improve public health.