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News 416 views update:May 12, 2010

Poultry protected from coccidiosis by mushrooms

Researchers, at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS, the US Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency) Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory in Beltsville, MD, and her colleagues have developed a technique that controls coccidiosis, which is responsible for the poultry industry billions of dollar losses annually across the globe.

ARS scientists and their South Korean colleagues injected lectin extracted from Fomitella fraxinea (a wood-rotting mushroom seen mostly on black locust tree stumps) into 18-day-old embryos to activate their innate immune systems and later challenged the newly hatched chicks with coccidiosis-causing parasites. This treatment significantly protected chickens against coccidiosis-associated weight loss and reduced fecal shedding of live parasites.
This particular lectin is usually prepared under less-stringent conditions than are other mushroom compounds that produce a similar effect, making its commercial production more feasible. Currently, this new method is the subject of a patent application.
 
 
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