Below are a few highlights of the research results thus far in the priority areas identified in the National Research Strategy.
The intense selective pressure on poultry breeds has considerably narrowed the gene pool available to producers. Dr. Fred Silversides and his research team worked on a way of maintaining genetic variation by optimizing cryopreservation and transplantation of avian gonadal tissue. The project provides a successful model of storing avian gonadal tissue using a simple method, and suggests future directions for improving transplantation tolerance.
(Source: Canadian Poultry Magazine, Dec 2013)
A research team led by Dr. Christine Szymanski at the University of Alberta worked on a project to engineer ‘designer proteins’ to combat specific pathogens in chickens. Their research has identified a protein specific to Salmonella Typhimurium that, when fed to chickens in varying doses, resulted in a significant reduction of Salmonella in the birds’ intestinal tract, liver, and spleen. Reducing bacterial load in chickens is important to reduce the potential for contamination at processing. The researchers have submitted 2 patent applications related to this work and are currently looking at ways to produce the proteins commercially.
(Source: Canadian Poultry Magazine, May 2012)
Animal Health Products
CPRC has supported several research projects designed to investigate the possibility of stimulating natural immunity in poultry as a way to reduce the need for antimicrobials. One such project is being led by Dr. Susantha Gomis at the University of Saskatchewan. His research team is investigating molecules called CpG-ODN and their ability to stimulate the innate immune system of chickens. Dr. Gomis’ work has demonstrated that these molecules, when injected into the egg, protected chicks from E. Coli and Salmonella Typhimurium infections. CPRC is continuing to fund this research through to the commercialization stage. The research team currently investigating a better delivery system for the molecule, and is working on the commercialization of the technology for industry use.
(Source: Canadian Poultry Magazine, February 2012)
Information from CPRC co-funded projects is contributing directly to the ongoing development of several new vaccine technologies. For example, Dr. Éva Nagy and her research team at the University of Guelph have developed a technique for delivering antigens from Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease viruses as a way to protect birds from these and other diseases while avoiding the risks associated with the use of live vaccines. This research program has gone from discovery right through to the commercialization stage. To develop this technology for industry use, Dr. Nagy has been working with the company Avimex who produces poultry vaccines and pharmaceuticals. Avimex is confident that Dr. Nagy’s technology platform will be a success and is working on registration and scaling up production.
(Source: Canadian Poultry Magazine, May 2014)
Dr. Trever Crowe and his research team at the University of Saskatchewan have been researching ways to improve broiler welfare and meat quality in transport. Their research demonstrates the potential for active ventilation to improve conditions during cold weather transport. The strategy, similar to a broiler barn, is to seal up the load relatively tightly with tarps and run exhaust fans in order to allow cool and dry air to enter at multiple points throughout the load. As the incoming air warms it is able to hold more moisture and is exhausted by the fans along with excess moisture. The result is a flow of air that evens out temperature extremes and removes excess moisture whether the truck is moving or stuck in traffic. Ongoing research continues to provide industry with information that can be applied to continuously improve transport conditions for poultry.
(Source: Canadian Poultry Magazine, January 2013)
Dr. Shiv Prasher and his research team at McGill University worked on a project to reduce pollution from veterinary pharmaceuticals (VPs) in runoff from poultry manure. The researchers found that the VPs varied in their persistence in the soil and in the rate at which they moved into ground water. It is hoped that information gathered during ongoing work will lead to Best Management Practices designed to minimize any negative effects of VPs in the environment.
(Source: Canadian Poultry Magazine, July 2008)
Functional and Innovative Poultry Products
Post-production laying hens have historically been processed for use in food products such as soups and further processed meats, however this market has declined. Research by Dr. Jianping Wu from the University of Alberta has been looking at ways to increase the value of spent hens and develop a more sustainable means for their disposal. The researchers modified an existing protein extraction method for spent hen carcasses to produce a protein-based adhesive that could be sold and used commercially as a valuable poultry byproduct. A patent application has been filed from the results of this work.
Due to the production of ethanol there could be upward pressure on the price of grains typically used in broiler diets. Research is therefore required to evaluate the potential for lower cost feed ingredients which could be used to reduce the cost of production for broiler farmers. Work is on-going by Dr. Derek Anderson and his team at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College to determine the nutritive value and broiler performance effects of diets containing cold-pressed meals of canola, soybean, camelina, and carinata.