ATA Research Capacity

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
Alternatives to Antibiotics Available Technologies
(Listed below are research areas ARS scientist are working in for the development of Alternatives to Antibiotics)


“Biologically Based Management Strategies for Control of Soil-Borne Pathogens of Ornamental Crops as an Alternative to Methyl Bromide Pre-Plant Soil Fumigation” “Research on potential use of bacteriophage as alternatives to antibiotics and copper-based bactericides to control Bacterial diseases of tomato and ornamentals”

Dr. Dilip Lakshman

“Research is on fire blight of apple and pear, with emphasis on biological control as an alternative to antibiotics” “improving the formulation of the bacterial biocontrol agent, Pantoea agglomerans strain E325, which is primarily adapted to the flower stigma where the disease organism (Erwinia amylovora) becomes established”

Dr. P. Lawrence Pusey

“Plant-based antimicrobials for ruminants”
“Characterize phytochemicals that have mechanisms of action that are similar to ionophore antibiotics, like monensin and lasalocid”

Dr. Michael D. Flythe

Working on use of natural compounds to augment efficacy of antifungal agents (antimycotics) “experimenting with natural compounds, mainly found in plants and spices we consume, that undermine the stress response systems of fungi”

Dr. Bruce Campbell


“Plant microbiomes, and in them  find complex microbiomes that contain many taxa that are genetically similar to rumen, intestinal, and fecal microbes.   These microbes are crucial to both plant and animal nutritional health”

Dr. Mary Lucero


“Bacterial diseases of plants, including seeking alternatives to antibiotics”

Dr. Joyce Loper



Production of transgenic rainbow trout carrying a pick cecropin P1 transgnen”
“Identifying the up-regulation of expression of innate immunity and adapted immunity in these transgenic fish by microarray and quantitative real-time RT-PCR analyses”

Dr. Thomas T. Chen  Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology University of Connecticut


“Focus is on the discovery of natural compounds (not antibiotics) from plants that could be used to manage common channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) diseases”
“Discovery of novel natural compounds that can be used to treat (therapeutants) and/or prevent the transmission of bacterial catfish pathogens from fish to fish would provide catfish farmers with additional management approaches for disease prevention and control”

Dr. Kevin K. Schrader


“Conduct research on the fish disease columnaris”

Dr. Dave Straus


“Isolating novel phages against Vibrio tubiashii, a significant pathogen to larval shellfish”
“Also working with bacteriophages and an antibacterial parasitic microorganism”

Dr. Gary Richards

“Effort to breed rainbow trout for disease resistance, specifically against an isolate of Flavobacterium psychrophilum that causes bacterial cold water disease”

Drs. Greg Wiens,
Tim Leeds


“Bacteriophage therapeutics that target Yersinia ruckeri, the causative agent for enteric redmouth disease in rainbow trout”

Dr. Tim Welch


“Identify host/fish defense genes in response to bacterial infections, clone the defense genes, and then put them back to the host/fish to see the protection, including known natural antimicrobial peptides and some novel proteins; Also develop vaccines against bacterial pathogens as the alternatives to antibiotics”

Dr. Julia Pridgeon



“Molecular Approaches for the Characterization of Foodborne Pathogens in Poultry”

Bruce Seal


“Develop a strategy for reducing drug resistance in S. aureus by identifying antimicrobial peptides that exhibit alternative modes of action”

David Mathew Donovan


“Develop immune reagents to detect host effector molecules controlling immune responses and determine the role of host effector molecules in disease resistance to discover biological determinants associated with disease resistance to infectious diseases of poultry”

Hyun Lillehoj


Immune modulators (host cytokines) that impact the innate immune system in a manner that might serve as an alternative to in-feed antibiotics as a means to control clinical and subclinical disease”
“Engineered the cytokines into a replication defective virus that delivers the cytokine instead of needing to produce a recombinant protein”

Drs. Marcus E. Kehrli, Jr., Susan Brockmeier, Crystal Loving, Kelly Lager, Kay Faaberg


“Novel therapeutic, diagnostic, and management strategies to reduce antibiotic use in poultry production” “the role of the stress response in susceptibility to opportunistic
bacterial infection in poultry, with a focus on colibacillosis, which is probably the primary reason antibiotics are needed in commercial poultry production

Drs. Gerry Huff,
William E. Huff


“Developed an attenuated Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium vaccine that can be administered to food producing animals to decrease Salmonella colonization and clinical disease”
“Utilization of the Salmonella Typhimurium vaccine to reduce pathogen colonization in food producing animals will decrease the incidence and severity of clinical disease resulting in a decrease in the use of antibiotics”

Drs. Bradley Bearson,
Shawn Bearson


“Primary focus has been on providing dietary supplements such as yeast products, plant-derived products, and even chromium as a means to enhance the innate immune response in weaned pigs and receiving cattle”
“Focused on supplements that primarily have the potential to enhance innate immunity as a primary mediator of the overall immune response in swine and cattle in an effort to enhance the overall health, productivity and well-being of these animals”

Dr. Jeff Carroll


“Bioactive feed additives to improve poultry product quality”
“Feed additives derived from biomass show antimicrobial activity and offer an alternative to antibiotics when used as a preventive treatment or to improve growth rather than for therapeutic applications”

Dr. Ronald Holser


“Efficacy of lysozyme as an alternative to antibiotics”
“Conducting research to identify possible mechanisms by measuring nutrient flux (amino acids and glucose) across the small intestine”

Dr. William Oliver


“Project on developing vaccines to replace anti-coccidial drugs”

Drs, Mark Jenkins,
Ray Fetterer


“The role of vitamin D during infections” (Dairy Mastitis)

Dr. John Lippolis


“Research on novel prebiotics and anti-adhesive oligosaccharides to prevent infections in animals and humans”

Dr. Arland Hotchkiss


“Determine if Caprylic acid reduced Salmonella Enteritidis or Campylobacter in birds before being infected (prophylactic efficacy) or after colonization (therapeutic efficacy)”

Dr. Annie Donoghue


“Non-antibiotic approach to reduce colonization of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in livestock, particularly in swine” “use compounds or enzymes to disrupt or inhibit the ability of these bacteria to form biofilms”

Dr. Tracy Nicholson


“Evaluating the efficacy of sodium chlorate as an oral prophylactic treatment for reducing the occurrence of bacterial-induced neonatal diarrhea in livestock systems”

Dr. Bret Taylor


“Develop selection tools to identify animals less susceptible to Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD)” “reduce reliance on antibiotics used in the feedlot to treat and prevent BRD”

Dr. John Pollak


“Selection of turkey lines for increased immune functions/pathogen resistance”
“Use of E-beam technology in the development of vaccines against food-borne pathogens in turkeys and swine”
“Use of innate immune stimulators as immunomodulators and/or adjuvants to protect poultry and swine from food pathogen colonization/infection”
“Use of cationic peptides to reduce/eliminate food-borne pathogens in swine”
“Critical selection of host microbial flora and their products for use as immunomodulators and/or colonization prevention against food-borne pathogens in swine and poultry”

Drs. Mike Kogut, Christine Swaggerty, Haique He, Kenneth Genovese


“Use of interferons to protect poultry against avian influenza, both high and low pathogenic forms of the virus”

Dr. Darrell Kapczynski


“Convey immunity to calves arriving at a feedlot to the (strains of) pathogens that are most prevalent at that specific feedlot”

Dr. Mark Thallman


Food Safety

“Investigating the use of beta-glucan from yeast cell-walls with ascorbic acid in combination with probiotics as potential antibiotic alternatives”  “Additionally, studying the use of cranberry products as antibiotic alternatives prior to and during production stressors”

Dr. Susan Eicher


Work deals with the impact of colibacillosis on colonization of poultry with Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella and Campylobacter, and developing non-antibiotic alternatives to decrease colonization

Dr. Gerry Huff


“Alternative Intervention and Control Strategies for Foodborne Pathogens in Poultry and Poultry Products” “Work deals with the impact of colibacillosis on colonization of poultry with Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella and Campylobacter, and developing non-antibiotic alternatives to decrease colonization.

Dr. Gerry Huff


“Using bacteriophages against E. coli O157:H7 on lettuce”

Dr. Manan Sharma


“Studies on antimicrobial activities of large number of plant-derived compounds against foodborne pathogens, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria”

Dr. Mendel Friedman


“Study the capacity of dairy fermentation lactic cultures for useful and/or novel functions (enzymes and metabolites), including the production of natural antimicrobial peptides (bacteriocins) in food systems. The anticipated functions of these peptides includes the protection of foods against spoilage and/or pathogenic bacteria”

Dr. George Somkuti


“Selective breeding for parasite resistance and susceptibility to intestinal nematodes”

Dr. George Liu


“Development of chlorate as a viable feed additive to reduce colonization of food production animals by Salmonella and E. coli” “to use pharmaceutically active secondary plant compounds as potential non-antibiotic interventions”

Drs. Robin Anderson, Todd Callaway, Tom Edrington, Toni Poole, Roger Harvey


“Discovery and application potential of natural antimicrobials produced by bacteria associated with dairy foods and in some cases, dairy animals”

Dr. John Renye


“Engineered R-Type Pyocin Is a Highly Specific and Sensitive Bactericidal Agent for the Food-Borne Pathogen Escherichia coli O157:H7”

Dr. Robert Mandrell


“Breeding bees for resistance to biotic threats -- principally parasitic mites”

Dr. Robert Danka


“Investigated several ‘chemical’ substitutions and diet consistencies (i.e., semi-solid and solid) as alternatives to the use of antibiotics for insect diets”

Dr. Tom Coudron


“Systematics, taxonomy, and organismal biology of fungi that are pathogenic for insects and other invertebrates”

Dr. Richard Humber


“Bacteriophage and their cognate lytic enzymes with antibacterial activity are potential alternatives to antibiotics for controlling contamination in fuel ethanol production”

Dr. Kenneth Bischoff


“Microbial interactions linked to effectors, and quorum sensing of insect microbes” “working to characterize specialized protein secretion systems in Insect-associated, and Plant-associated bacteria – which includes the type III secretion system”

Dr. Wayne Hunter


“Artificial insect diets”

Guadalupe Rojas


“Synthesis and characterization of a delivery system made from two biopolymers: pectin, and zein” “P40 released from pectin/zein beads prevented cytokine-induced apoptosis in intestinal epithelial cells and ameliorated chronic inflammation in oxazolone-induced colitis”

Dr. Lin Shu Liu





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