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K-State Today

January 26, 2017

K-State feed safety team studies elimination of PEDV in feed manufacturing facilities

Submitted by Cassandra Jones

Cassie Jones visits with students about feed safety

An interdisciplinary team of animal scientists, feed scientists and veterinarians at Kansas State University has been actively working to prevent pathogen transfer through animal feed.

Cassie Jones, assistant professor of animal sciences and industry, was lead of the team-based project, "Elimination of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus in an Animal Feed Manufacturing Facility," recently published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal PLOS ONE. 

According to Jones, if porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PEDV, a deadly virus that affects pigs, enters a feed mill, it is nearly impossible to decontaminate the facility using current methods in the industry.

"Typical feed mill cleaning involves physical cleaning to remove dust," Jones said.

The team's research shows that PEDV is still present even after physical cleaning, which can spread the contamination instead of reducing it.

"Our team found that a very harsh cleaning agent — glutaraldegyde and bleach, both of which are liquid, plus heat — is needed to completely remove any remaining virus," Jones said. "This is not a practice used currently in feed mills, and it's very impractical because most conveyors and equipment were never designed to be wet cleaned."

The research shows that given the current structure of the feed industry and its equipment, it is paramount to prevent PEDV from entering a feed mill, Jones said.

Jones credits the combination of interdisciplinary researchers and facilities for allowing the team to answer novel and industry-relevant questions.

"Our resources at K-State have directly led to this publication in PLOS ONE," Jones said. "We have a great team of interdisciplinary scientists and have the privilege in working in world-class facilities, such as the Cargill Feed Safety Research Center."

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