Auburn Speaks
Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development

Fighting Animal Diseases

Written By Karen Hunley

Vet Diagnostic Lab on Front Lines

One potentially devastating threat to our food system is an animal disease lurking in our food supply, gaining momentum each day it goes unnoticed. You don’t want one of these diseases to “find” you before you find it.

That’s one of the core messages at the Alabama State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, a four lab system that provides diagnostic services for Alabama farmers and poultry producers,
veterinarians, and animal owners. The central laboratory is located at Auburn University, with regional labs in Boaz, Hanceville, and Elba. All theblabs are under the direction of state veterinarian Dr. Tony Frazier.

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AUFSI in Bologna

Written by Karen Hunley

International exposure: AU and the University of Bologna agree to share ideas, resources, and people

Exchange of ideas among different countries is nothing new. But as our U.S. society becomes more global and we routinely interact with other cultures, the need for direct international exposure becomes more important.

This is especially true for college students and faculty, says Pat Curtis, director of the Auburn University Food Systems Institute (AUFSI). Curtis and AUFSI recently formed an International Academic Interchange Agreement with the University of Bologna in Bologna, Italy.

Also known as a memorandum of understanding (MOU), the agreement encourages collaboration between the two universities. In addition to student exchanges, the MOU may involve exchange of faculty members and technical staff, joint research activities, seminars and academic meetings, and anything else that may foster international awareness and growth on both sides.

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Food Fit for a God

Written by Michael Kozuh

Divine Meal in Babylonia Involved Many Steps, Many People

Chapter 14 of the Book of Daniel, considered canonical by some Christians and apocryphal by others, has the prophet Daniel in Babylon, challenging the power of Babylonian gods. “The Babylonians,” the book says, “had an idol called Bel, and every day they provided for it six bushels of fine flour, forty sheep, and six measures of wine.” Daniel, of course, refused to revere the idol, considering it the inanimate artifice of human hands. The king, angry at Daniel’s intransigence, took him to task. He asked the prophet, “Do you not think Bel is a living god? Do you not see how much Bel eats and drinks every day?” To the king, Bel’s consumption of the food was proof of his power.

In the wake of the prophet’s steadfast denials, the king called in the priests of Bel to prove to Daniel that the god ate the food they set out for him. The priests took the king and the prophet to the temple, laid out the food and drink in front of the idol, and then had the king seal the temple door with his own signet ring. “If you do not find that Bel has eaten it all when you return in the morning,” the priests said, “we are to die; otherwise Daniel shall die for his lies against us.”

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Poultry Litter Decision Support System

Written by Puneet Srivastava

New Online Technology Supports Waste Management, Cleaner Water

A new Web-based computer software program could lead to cleaner water in Alabama’s top poultry-producing region and greener pastures in the Black Belt.

Every year in Alabama, poultry farmers raise more than a billion broilers that produce some 1.7 million tons of litter–a mixture of poultry excrement, spilled feed, shed feathers, and bedding material such as pine sawdust. In fact, according to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, between 0.5 and 0.7 pounds of litter is produced per pound of broiler market weight.

And when the litter is no longer useful, it has to go somewhere.

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Profile: Beef Teaching Center

Written by Karen Hunley

Beef Teaching Center Serves Education and Research

The Stanley P. Wilson Beef Teaching Center at Auburn University has multipurpose facilities that allow for hands-on teaching, calving, cattle grazing, and research, activities that complement each other. Students participate in calving and contribute to research projects, and grazing keeps the herd healthy while contributing to research.

In fact, the center may be the only one in the country located on a university campus that has cattle graze as part of or during research data collection, according to center manager George Richburg. One of the pastures the cattle graze is divided into 0.7-acre “watershed” plots in order to measure water quality in runoff from a pasture where cattle are present and leave waste.

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