Using Ferric-Based Disinfectants in Food Processing Waters
Researchers demonstrated the efficacy of using ferric-based compounds as antimicrobials for Salmonella and Listeria in chicken meat and fresh produce. Results showed that about a 2-log bacterial load reduction can be achieved in 30 seconds on both pathogens. Contact time and temperature had minimum impact on antimicrobial efficacy, and there was no noticeable change in food quality properties like color, texture, and taste after treatment. Researchers believe the compounds have potential as low-cost alternative antimicrobials.
Removal of Free Fatty Acids from Rendered Oil
Researchers developed a method to remove free fatty acids (FFAs) from rendered oil using magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs). Experiments with samples of brown grease showed a reduction in the FFA level from an unacceptable 5% to a desired 3.6% with only a 4% weight loading of MNPs. A 10% loading further reduced the FFA level to 2.3%. The lower the FFA, the better for shelf life and oil quality.
Individual Bird Monitoring
Researchers created an Android smartphone Data Logger app to record data from a small, wireless EEG device. The portable device measures individual bird bio-responses and can be used to assess bird well-being during live operations. Initial tests were performed on birds at the University of Georgia; results are pending. The project is helping researchers test new techniques for live operations. It also helped them obtain a research grant from the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association to study chick euthanasia.
On-Farm Production and Transportation System
Researchers completed a conceptual design of a mobile, on-farm poultry processing and transportation system. The system includes modules for catching, stunning, slaughtering, and shackling birds at the farm. A separate unit transports them to poultry processing plants. The system can easily move between multiple poultry houses with loading times comparable to existing industry standards. Researchers believe the concept is technically feasible and could produce savings over current production and transportation processes.
Multi-Function Sensory System for Smart Poultry Farming
Researchers designed a micro-sensor system aimed at measuring emissions of odor, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, methane, and non-methane volatile levels at poultry farms with minimal interference from other sources. The prototype includes a micro detector and processor with a wireless module for real-time data collection and analysis. Samples of volatile organic compounds were successfully measured during laboratory testing with only minimal signal interference. System optimization is underway with the goal of further testing at an actual poultry farm.
Advanced Enrichment Reactor
Researchers refined their advanced enrichment technique for detection of pathogens in large-volume poultry processing samples. Using the technique, they were able to reduce the lag time before the start of exponential growth and subsequently increase the overall growth rate. Preliminary results with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium outperformed the control, yielding a 37.6% shorter lag time followed by a 109.6% greater growth rate. Researchers believe these results suggest that accelerating the enrichment step for real-time detection is within reach.
Enhancing Predictive Modeling for Livestock Harvesting
Researchers evaluated the feasibility of using 3D model analysis to estimate bird weight for harvesting. The Microsoft Kinect V2 sensor was used in experimental growout houses to collect 3D data of broiler chickens over a 6-week period and breeder chickens over a 4-week period. The team compared the 3D data with manual weight measurements. Results indicated a 90% correlation, suggesting the sensor could be used in growout houses as an alternative non-contact weight estimation tool.
Correlations with Broiler Processing Characteristics and Genetic Traits
Researchers explored the weight and physical measures of different genetic species of broilers in an effort to determine the most efficient processing machinery design. Analyses showed correlations are stronger between various physical dimensions than with weight. Researchers believe this discovery opens up the possibility of improving processing efficiencies through the use of automation. It could also enable the use of computer-aided design and virtual reality tools to support equipment design.
Researchers studied 1,280 broilers during growout to determine the effects of water and litter quality and antibiotic use on broiler mortality and growth velocity. The broilers were divided into groups and raised under varying treatments: new or used litter, with and without chlorine-treated water, and with and without antibiotic feed. Data analysis is underway, and in addition to determining any potential linkage, researchers hope to define economically viable options for reducing or eliminating the use of prophylactic antibiotics.