POULTRY NEWS

USDA AWARDS RESEARCH GRANT TO STUDY HEAT STRESS IN POULTRY

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture has awarded Karthik Nayani a research grant nearing $300,000 to develop a rapid reporting method of heat stress in poultry. Nayani is an assistant professor in the Ralph E. Martin Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Arkansas. Heat stress negatively affects the growth and development of broiler chickens, a staple in worldwide meat production. It is a common challenge in the summer for poultry farmers in Arkansas and other regions of the country where poultry farming is a key food source and industry. By studying the red blood cells of healthy and heat stressed chickens, Nayani’s research will build an experimental data set and develop a rapid reporting technique. Information contained within the red blood cells — dispersed in liquid crystals — will be processed using convolutional neural networks. This type of network works like an algorithm that can read an image and assign it a label. In this case, molecular signatures of heat stress are the image that can be read in order to classify whether heat stress is being experienced.