GCUAW8 Livestock production in the post antibiotic era

Last changed: 16 May 2016

The emergence of microbes that are resistant to antibiotics needed for the treatment of people and animals is one of the most important global challenges. On the 1-3 December 2015 in Uppsala the Global Challenges University Alliance gave its 8th workshop on livestock production in the post antibiotic era.

Trajectories for a future without antibiotics

In December 2015, 25 researchers from 15 different universities (and, thus, countries) gathered for the 8th Global Challenges University Alliance workshop "Livestock Production in the Post Antibiotic Era” in Uppsala, Sweden. Sustainable livestock production, e.g. basic food-protein production, is a challenge in general, of which the lowered dependence on antibiotics in the production is one of the major. Gradually, present antibiotics are loosing impact and functionality, and we need to look for alternatives, moderate our usage and prepare for an era where the usefulness of antibiotics will be limited. This was the major issue wrestled over three days of workshop, which started with a reception at hotel Gillet in Uppsala in the evening of November 30 and ended in the afternoon of December 3, 2015.

Jesper Kårehed guides the group in the garden of Linné's summer residence. Photo: Carl-Gustaf Thulin.
Group picture on the stairs of Linné's summer residence.
Participants listening to a presentation by Tjakko Abee from Wageningen University. Photo: Carl-Gustaf Thulin.
Carl von Linné made a dramatic visit during conference dinner. Here, with, from the left, Folorunso Oludayo Fasinasouth (Univ Pretoria, S Africa), Christine Leeb (BOKU, Austria), Nataliya Roth (BOKU, Austria), Ricardo Soares Magalhaes (Univ Queensland, Australia) & Francisco Suárez-Güemes (UNAM, Mexico). Photo: Carl-Gustaf Thulin.

The general ambition of the workshop was to (1) develop a research agenda, define relevant topics and suggest paths taken to approach them scientifically, (2) to generate one or several reflection papers, addressing the topic on a broader scale and (3) plan for a summer-school for PhD students within the Global Challenges University Alliance (GCUA) network.

The workshop themes were as follows:

  1. Animal health – a holistic approach to improved production systems with less use of antibiotics
  2. On farm biosecurity – including external and internal biosecurity as well as biocontainment, to establish sufficient barriers to prevent transmission of infectious agents
  3. Alternatives to antibiotics – probiotics and vaccines, strategic disinfection or treatments
  4. Food chain biosecurity – a holistic approach to biosecurity addressing the challenges associated with infectious diseases from farm to fork.

First day, December 1, started with a welcome address by Pro Vice-Chancellor Johan Schnürer, founder of the GCUA initiative. Johan pointed out the importance of this particular field of research, not the least out of his own research background as professor in microbiology. He also set the whole initiative in a general context, and emphasised the importance of meetings like this one for tackling the major challenges humanity is facing. After the welcome address, and an introduction by the workshop organisers, the rest of the day focused on perspectives provided in talks by workshop participants. Late afternoon, the workshop went into practical stage, with focus on themes “Animal health” and “On farm biosecurity”.

Day 2, December 2, was held at Lövsta Research Center, SLUs major research facility for animal production, right outside of Uppsala. Presentations continued, with a trip to Linneaus Summer Residence “Linnes Hammarby” over the lunch break, with excellent guiding by Jesper Kårehed from Uppsala University, along with a guided tour at the research center by Julia Österberg, research- and education coordinator at Lövsta. After another day with mixed presentations and hand on workshop discussions, the second day was closed with a conference dinner at the nearby Lövsta Mansion. The dinner, a nice buffet with different delicacies, was suddenly interrupted by Carl Linné himself (in the shape of Swedish actor Hans Odöö), that entertained the group with anecdotes from his life and deed, of which much was performed in the surroundings.

On the final workshop day, the group laid out a preliminary plan for a conceptual scientific review paper. Professor Glenn Browning from The University of Melbourne kindly offered to coordinate the writing process. In addition, Dr Christine Leeb and Dr Konrad Domig of University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna, Austria, offered to organise the forthcoming summer school “Reducing Antibiotic Resistance in Livestock Farming” held in Vienna, September 5-13, 2016. The workshop participants then disseminated back to their ordinary routines; enriched, invigorated and a little bit closer to face the forthcoming global challenges.

Organization committee

Ivar Vågsholm


Carl-Gustaf Thulin

Coordinator of GCUA
carl-gustaf.thulin@slu.se , +4670-5645358

Page editor: cajsa.lithell@slu.se