Food safety

Antibiotics have been used for decades in various applications such as used in the hospital to treat bacterial infection in humans or on the farm to treat animals and promote growth. However, overused and misused antibiotics have promoted the development of antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) in bacteria leading to ineffective treatment of bacterial infection and it becomes problematic on public health worldwide. Emerging of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (ARB) poses not only a public health concern but also environmental pollution and economic loss due to the prolonged treatment period and high mortality rate.

Therefore, understanding the prevalence of ARB is important to take fast action on the control and limit the ARB widespread.

The data on the prevalence of ARB in aquaculture is very limited in Cambodia. In this study carried out in the frame of the project AquaCAM-FSPI funded by French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Office , we investigated antibiotic-resistant of opportunistic pathogens in fish and animals, known as Aeromonas spp. and Escherichia coli (E. coli) in pangasius and giant snakehead aquaculture which are the dominant systems in Cambodia’s aquaculture. A research team of the Institute of Technology of Cambodia (ITC) including Dr. Chanthol Peng (team leader), Mrs. THANH Channmuny (Researcher), Ms. MONIROTH Sopheapanhavattey, Mr. CHEA Sopheaktra, Mr. KHY Panha (Research students) is responsible for this research. So far, the team has surveyed the pond aquaculture system in Kampong Chhnang and Kandal Province. Samples including water, fish, and sediment were collected and sent to the laboratory of the Institute of Technology of Cambodia (ITC) to perform the AMR analysis. The antibiotic susceptibility was tested with 9 different antimicrobial agents using in aquaculture and human therapy.

The analysis is ongoing and expects to expand the study area to other different systems such as cages. Shortly, the team will disseminate the finding to relevant stakeholders to deal with the issue of the emergence of AMR and to propose a feasible solution to this problem. Moreover, we believe that the results will be part of the efforts to fill the knowledge gap on the AMR in aquaculture production in Cambodia which will help the policymaker to deal with AMR and promote the sustainability of the aquaculture system.