One health consequences of circularity. What lessons to learn from the saprophytic and human pathogenic fungus Aspergillus fumigatus?

Summary

Applying the principles of circularity to agriculture is widely believed to hold much promise. Central to this approach is closing the various residue output-input loops either at a local, regional, or global scale for which the volumes of resources/materials can vary substantially. Whatever the scale, to increase efficiency and to further reduce losses, each of the loops involves the aggregation and accumulation of residues. Therefore, it is alarming that no attention has thus far been given to the associated accumulation of chemicals in these residues that pose potential health risks to natural and managed populations of organisms, including humans. In this proposal we address the One-Health consequences of circularity through the resistance development to environmental and medical azoles in the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus in accumulated organic residues. Our objectives are to (i) use the diversity of organic waste disposal in the bulb-sector to discern the key factors driving resistance development, (ii) use these factors to draw up an intervention plan that will be tested in the laboratory and on-site, and (iii) extend the obtained knowledge to general organic waste disposal to assess resistance and health risk across the system. Throughout, patient-risk will be monitored via local, regional, and national spore-trapping. Our project will deliver a quantitative and qualitative One-Health risk-assessment for the pressing problem of rapidly spreading azole-resistance. It will provide valuable lessons and actions to be taken to prevent similar problems arising in other parts of circular agriculture – in an effort to design health-risk free circular systems.

Details

Project number

GROEN.2019.002

Main applicant

Prof. dr. B.J. Zwaan

Affiliated with

Wageningen University & Research, Plantenwetenschappen, Laboratorium voor Genetica

Duration

01/01/2020 to 31/12/2024