research

TUCKER, Ga. — The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and the USPOULTRY Foundation are accepting research pre-proposals from colleges, universities and research facilities through Nov. 1 on improved eggshell quality in cage-free layer flocks.

Eggshell quality is important for food safety and beneficial egg quality attributes. The U.S. egg industry is moving to extensive cage-free housing systems to meet consumer and legislative demands. Companies transitioning face numerous unknowns regarding housing systems, including how to ensure that eggshell quality is maintained. Eggshell quality is multifactorial, and the interactions between the housing system and factors known to affect shell quality are not well understood. Numerous questions exist regarding management and mitigation of eggs laid outside of the system, or so-called “floor eggs,” and best practices have not been identified for handling these eggs. Shell quality and production issues are a real concern, often resulting in severe financial loss.

The research areas of focus should identify methods and practices to reduce microfractures in shell eggs, develop improved methods for egg management aimed at improving shell integrity in cage-free systems, and evaluate nutrition and environmental programs to maximize eggshell quality and integrity in cage-free systems.

The research should also answer the following questions:

  • What management methods can be utilized to minimize eggs laid outside of the system?
  • What novel management methods exist for handling eggs laid outside of the system?
  • Are there nutrition and environmental program manipulations that can maximize eggshell quality and integrity in cage-free systems?

Salmonella and campylobacter

USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation are also accepting research pre-proposals through Nov. 1 on salmonella and campylobacter control and mitigation strategies in chickens and turkeys.

The poultry industry has seen many changes in production and processing over the last century, but food safety issues and outbreaks associated with salmonella and campylobacter continue to persist. Research is needed to develop effective and practical prevention, intervention and control strategies.

The research areas of focus should include developing effective and practical intervention strategies that result in quantifiable salmonella and campylobacter reduction at the breeder, hatchery, grow-out and processing levels; developing cost-effective and practical methods to quantify the impact of salmonella and campylobacter control interventions in the field; evaluating interventions (e.g., vaccination, pro-prebiotics, immune modulators, etc.) and developing strategies for breeder and commercial turkeys and chickens to reduce or eliminate salmonella and campylobacter of bird origin in the processing plant and final products; evaluating the ecology and survivability of campylobacter throughout production to facilitate improved control strategies; and developing effective campylobacter vaccines.

The research should also answer the following questions:

  • Does campylobacter transmission from hens to the progeny occur due to eggshell contamination or true vertical transmission?
  • Can the molecular epidemiology of Salmonella serotypes in poultry help determine epidemiologic associations and shared sources?

Visit https://www.uspoultry.org/research/ and click on the “Board Research Initiatives” sub-header for complete instructions to submit a pre-proposal.

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