New Test For Bovine Respiratory Disease May Save Cattle Industry Millions, Reduce Antibiotic Use

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Purdue University reports:

Sous-vide cooking inspired an idea that took promising technology out of the lab and into the barn. Researchers at Purdue University successfully developed an on-site bovine respiratory disease test that provides results within an hour.

The team of researchers has been steadily advancing the point-of-care technology to address the disease, which is the most common and costly disease affecting cattle in the world.

“We wanted to see if the technology is tough enough for the farm and how messy we could get,” said Mohit Verma, assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering, who led the research. “We weren’t overly cautious with cleanliness because we want the test to be easy to use. Respiratory disease can quickly spread from animal to animal, and it can be devastating. Quick diagnosis leads to the proper treatment and reduces unnecessary use of antibiotics.”

The team also added an easy-to-read color change from red to yellow to indicate the test results, he said. A paper detailing the work was published in the journal Veterinary Research.

“We’ve been working to improve our test to get it out of the lab and into the hands of farmers and veterinarians, and it worked very well in the field,” Verma said. “One key to achieving this advancement was using a sous-vide water bath to maintain the temperature needed for it to work, around 149 degrees Fahrenheit. My brother was doing sous-vide cooking and the idea just clicked. It is something easy to bring to a farm, fill with water and allow the test to be run.”

Bovine respiratory disease, or BRD, is responsible for half of all cattle deaths from disease in North America and costs the beef industry $900 million annually, he said. Several strains of bacteria and viruses can cause the disease, which makes it difficult to effectively treat.

To view the complete report, click here.

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