Professor Greg Cook spoke to Farmer's Weekly recently about the worldwide antimicrobial resistance problem and its roots in both human healthcare and livestock productivity.
He says that the inappropriate use of antibiotics in animals has received a lot of attention, however there is an issue with inappropriate use in humans too. His lab is focusing on a solution by breaking the link between antibiotics used in humans and those used in animals.
A new therapeutic approach involves developing an assay to target a particular bacterium, which is then screened against natural products to find a substance that kills the pathogen. This method could see weapons developed to control the bacterial cause of diseases that affect humans, animals and plants, as diverse as footrot, Psa, Mycoplasma bovis, kauri dieback and Johne's disease, as well as methane production in ruminants and nitrogen leaching.
Professor Greg Cook outside the Microbiology Building. Photo courtesy of Sharron Bennett.