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Reduction in parasite infections ahead for India

Experts from Queen's University are in India today (Monday) to advise the country on how it can reduce parasitic infections which destroy plants and animals.

The biotechonology experts from the Belfast-based University are at the forefront of research into the infections which cost the world economy around $200 billion in lost crop production and $5.3 billion in animal health each year.

A delegation led by Dr Gerry Brennan from the School of Biological Sciences at Queen's has been invited to Alagappa University in Tamil Nadu in southern India to share its expertise at the International Colloquium on Emerging Biotechnologies in Agriculture, Animal Health and Productivity which runs from today until Friday.

Dr Brennan has collaborated with Indian universities, including Alagappa, on research and teaching for almost 30 years. He will address the conference on the management of drug resistance in livestock.

He said: "India is now a world-leading nation in terms of social, technological and economic development, so it urgently needs to modernise and expand agricultural productivity, particularly in the livestock sector, to maximise self-sufficiency in food supply and to raise gross domestic product for a rapidly expanding and increasingly urbanised population.

"In response to this need, corporate farming enterprises in poultry, cattle, sheep, goats, buffalo, dairy, meat and aquaculture production are developing rapidly and modern production methods are being used across India.

"The current field of research at Queen's into veterinary and agricultural parasite control serves to showcase the application of biotechnology in modern agricultural practice."

Alagappa University has recently established a Department of Animal Health Science and Management which aims to help India expand its agricultural development, especially in the livestock sector.

The conference aims to focus the attention of national policy-makers, academics and industry leaders in India on the new facility as well as providing a forum for Indian scientists to hear from overseas experts about biotechnology and livestock-based agriculture.

The Vice-Chancellor of Alagappa, Professor P Pamasamy, who was once a research fellow at Queen's University, asked Dr Brennan to act as overseas organiser for the event.

Other Queen's delegates addressing the conference include Professor Aaron Maule and Dr Ian Fairweather from the School of Biological Sciences and Professor Bob Hanna and Dr Colin Fleming from AFBI, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute.


Contact: Andrea Clements
Queen's University Belfast

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