Intelligent chicken feed prevents diseases

By Peter Kent

microbiologist Jeremy Tzeng

More than 200 million chickens are raised in the Palmetto State, in flocks up to 300,000. To keep them healthy, Clemson scientists are using microscopic particles as a drug-free alternative to prevent disease.

An illness in a few birds can spread quickly through a facility that houses thousands. Bacteria can build up antibiotic resistance, making the drugs less effective. The team of scientists, led by microbiologist Jeremy Tzeng, has discovered a promising drug-free alternative in nanotechnology.

Working with particles 1/100,000th the thickness of human hair, they have built nanoparticles that mimic the host cell surface and lock to the targeted pathogens. The particles then bind together and are purged through the digestive system.    

Tzeng calls it intelligent chicken feed. “If we use this physical purging, physical removal, we are not using antibiotics so the chance of the microorganism becoming resistant to it is really small,” he said. Colleagues on this research project are Fred Stutzenberger, Robert Latour and Ya-Ping Sun.

For information: Jeremy Tzeng, 864-656-0239,