News 256 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Nanotechnology for intelligent bird feed

Poultry is big business in South Carolina, USA and Clemson University scientists are using nanotechnology to keep the birds and consumers healthy.

Diseases in poultry can be reduced by vaccines and medications but this may pose risks to growers and consumers. In addition, each flock has particular health and immunity profiles, so chicks from different breeders do not respond to vaccines and diseases the same way.

Researchers are therefore looking for drug-free alternatives and Clemson scientists have made a promising discovery using nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is tiny science — working with materials 1/100,000th the size of a human hair. Scientists are seeking to shrink materials down to the scale of atoms, creating particles that show promise for making better medicines, faster computers and safer foods.

Intelligent chicken feed
Jeremy Tzeng and Clemson colleagues Fred Stutzenberger, Robert Latour Jr. and Ya-Ping Sun have built nanoparticles that mimic the host cell surface in poultry and locks to the targeted pathogens. The particles then bind together and are purged through the bowel. Tzeng calls it "intelligent chicken feed." "If we use this physical purging, physical removal, we are not using antibiotics so the chance of the microorganism becoming resistant to it is really small," Tzeng said. To protect the discovery, Clemson technology transfer officials are patenting it.

Tzeng says that it will take more research and testing before the nanoparticle is ready to be used, but in the not-so-distant future, chickens and humans may live better lives due to intelligent chicken feed.

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Clemson University  

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