ACE-ART first  group meeting ( Rome, February 2004)What is the ACE-ART Project?
Welcome to the ACE-ART website, which I hope you will find to be both interesting and informative. Our project is all about antibiotic resistance. Despite concern that the use of antibiotics in the food chain  contributes to the development of resistant bacteria, research has yet to provide the data necessary for the development of an effective risk management strategy. This project, named Assessment and Critical Evaluation of Antibiotic Resistance Transferability in Food Chain  (ACE-ART) will provide a critical evaluation of the role of antibiotic use in agriculture and in the prophylaxis and treatment of disease in humans. A restricted group of antibacterial substances has been selected, namely: the MLS group (macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramines), tetracycline, streptomycin and, only for bifidobacteria, also vancomycin. This selection is based on the extensive use of these drugs or their analogs in the agro-food chain as well as in the prophylaxis and treatment of human disease.

The bacteria used will be strains belonging to Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Lactococcus and Streptococcus thermophilus as they can be found in a wide range of habitats. Moreover, they are industrially important bacteria, used as starter cultures for fermented food and also as probiotic cultures in functional foods and dietetic/nutritional supplements. The genetic basis of the two types of resistance will then be investigated, to provide a solid genetic basis to phenotypic data. Finally, transferability of  genes encoding antibiotic resistance will be assessed.

Who is involved?
The project is co-ordinated by the Istituto di Microbiologia, UniversitÓ Cattolica del Sacro Cuore,Piacenza, (Italy) and involves fourteen European partners from eleven countries. ACE-ART has established a collaboration with EFFCA establishing an industrial platform which will contribute to the ACE-ART project by providing strains, accompanying data and scientific input. EFFCA will help in disseminating results throughout the project.

Acknowledgement
This 3 year project started in January 2004 and is funded by the European Commission under the sixth framework Programme. Project number: CT-2003- 506214

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