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Name of scholarship/program

Research on cephalosporin antibiotics in meat and dairy products

Important description
Project objectives
1. To develop and validate methods for cephalosporin residues in food.
2. Transfer the methodology for cephalosporins to the VPHRL so they can be used for monitoring purposes.
3. Investigate the impact of cephalosporins on native starter cultures, stability during product manufacture and distribution into different dairy products.
4. To disseminate research to key stakeholders.

Cephalosporins are a key antibiotic used in the treatment of bacterial infections in food producing animals. Their use in the food chain is currently restricted to 4th generation drugs because of the potential of development of antimicrobial resistance. There is concern over the extra-label usage of these products particularly administration to poultry and direct injection of zero-withdrawal products into the udder of dairy cows. Both of these approaches can results in unwanted residues being detected in the food chain. There is no method available in National Reference Laboratories for the analysis of cephalosporin antibiotic residues in the food at present. This is likely due to the difficulty in analysing these substances. This project will address this gap, by developing and validating multi-residue LC-MS/MS methods detect cephalosporin antibiotics in milk and meat. An output from the project will be to transfer SOPS to the VPHRL at Backweston. Additional training will be held to support technology transfer to the VPHRL.

The project will also carry out a risk assessment of cephalosporin antibiotics in milk. There is significant demand at present from the dairy industry to provide ‘independent advice’ for the dairy industry and farmers. At present, any positive bulk milk samples are shipped outside of the island for analysis under the supervision of Animal Health companies. The project will support the industry by providing independent advice in this area. The project will also investigate the potential for different cephalosporin antibiotics to contaminate the food chain following approved and unapproved routes of administration. Milk will be collected from treated animals and the potential to contaminate processed dairy products will be assessed. The information produced from this work can support research in the area of antimicrobial resistance by providing more comprehensive analytical data. This information can lead to more sustainable use of antibiotics and reduce their potential for contamination of the environment.

Eligibility and other criteria
A BSc 2.1 or better in Chemistry, Biological Sciences, or a related subject. The applicant will register for a PhD at Cork Institute of Technology. The research in this project will be carried out mainly at the Teagasc Food Research Centre in Dublin. The candidate should have some experience in the area of chromatographic techniques. Knowledge and experience of bionanalytical techniques such as solvent extyraction, solid phase extraction and mass spectrometry would be an advantage.

Application deadline
* January 31, 2014

Additional information, and important URL
The PhD Fellowship is a joint research project between Teagasc, Food Research Centre and the Department of Chemistry, Cork Institute of Technology. The student will be based at the Teagasc Research Centre at Ashtown, Dublin 15 and will be registered at Cork Institute of Technology, working under the supervision of Dr. Ambrose Furey in association with Teagasc supervisor, Dr Martin Danaher. The Fellowship will start as soon as possible after 1st of March when the most suitable candidate is appointed.

The fellowship provides a stipend of €22,000 per annum. College fees (€3,000 per annum for EU citizens; €9,000 per annum for non-EU citizens) are paid by the student from the stipend which is tenable for 4 years.

Further Information/Applications
Dr Martin Danaher, Teagasc Food Research, Ashtown, Dublin 15, Republic of Ireland
email: martin.danaher@teagasc.ie
Dr Ambrose Furey, Department of Chemistry, Cork Institute of Technology
email: ambrose.furey@cit.ie

Application Procedure
Submit an electronic copy of Curriculum Vitae and a letter of interest simultaneously to:
Dr Martin Danaher, email: martin.danaher@teagasc.ie
Dr Ambrose Furey, email: ambrose.furey@cit.ie

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