Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Our ancestor’s bones are contaminating animal feeds!

16.08.2005


Bone splinters from land animals (left) and from molasses shreds (right) in polarised light in the microscope (200x magnif.). Clearly visible the characteristic "lacunes"
Fotos: R. Modi, University of Hohenheim


Soil adhering tuber crops
Fotos: E. Schnug, FAL Braunschweig


Results of an experts round table "decomposition behaviour of animal residues in soil" at the Institute of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, Federal Agricultural Research Centre (FAL), Braunschweig, Germany.

As a result of the BSE-crisis, any feed for livestock must be "free" of anything of animal origin. This EU-decree lasts until 2006 and should prevent "MBM" (Meat Bone Meal) from reaching the feed trough. MBM means the heated, dried and ground remains of animal slaughter waste. In themselves these amount to about a third of total animal slaughter waste, which has to be disposed of, and also includes blood, feathers and other components of animal bodies which are not usually included in feedstuffs. But which, for hygiene reasons, still need to be disposed of. MBM can still be used as a fertiliser, but only MBM of category III, which has to be produced out of non-commercialised or non-marketable material that is classed as "fit for human consumption".

Checks are made for bone fragments and other animal components, like muscle fibres, hair or feathers in feedstuff samples. These microscopic tests check to identify bones by their characteristic surface patterns, so called "lacuna" (picture 1). If only one tiny identifiable bone splinter is found in a feedstuff, an unauthorised admixture of animal components will be assumed and the whole part will have to be destroyed ("zero tolerance"). This happened on 23rd November 2004 in Ireland, where the authorities blocked the import of 1.645 tons of German feedstuff derived from sugar beet pulp after finding bone fragments. In the immediate aftermath caused by the RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) similar samples were scrutinised in Germany and bone fragments were found "not always but more and more often".



Against this background, experts met and discussed the origin and detection of bone fragments in field crops at a meeting in the Institute of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, Federal Agricultural Research Centre (FAL), Braunschweig, Germany.

The remains of animal bodies contain organic (soft tissue, cartilage, horn, hair) and mineral (bones) components. When in the soil, the organic components are almost completely decomposed in 1-2 years (soft tissue), and slightly longer - to 5-8 years for horn and hair, bones remain for far longer periods. Essentially this duration is dependent on the acidity (pH-value) and on the moisture content of the soil. Bones and bone fragments are a normal component of soils, they descend from perished or killed creatures, for example during tilling and harvesting, remains of the predators "meals" and excrements of these predators (for example foxes and birds of prey).

In soils with a pH-value ? 6, there is no appreciable decomposition of bone material in the soil for several hundred years. In lime containing soils bones survive for unlimited periods: Scientists at Goettingen University estimated the total inventory of bones at 9-98 tons per ha in a 0-30cm depth in three quarters of the soils investigated by them. The amounts of MBM accumulating because of the present feeding prohibition represent a considerable waste problem throughout Europe. This makes the use of fertilisers containing his material attractive, because the price of disposal is approx. 200 EUR for burning. The amounts of bones from MBM-fertilising at a typical application of 2 tons of MBM per ha spreads the equivalent amount of bones per square meter of soil as 10 mice carcasses (approx. 15 g).

Bone material can reach the food chain out of the agricultural soils by taking in animals with the crop material or by the external sticking or by soil material grown into tubers (picture 2). The German experts agreed that neither using the microscopic method prescribed by the EU as a standard measure, nor with the latest molecular biological measures (PCR, Polymerase Chain Reaction) is it possible to clearly determine the identity, origin and age of bone fragments in soils and field crops.

As a result the scientists concluded that because of the ubiquitous occurrence of bones in the soils and independent of the use of bones containing fertilisers (for example MBM) with a high probability, bone material can be detected in all field and forage crops resulting from soil adhesion. They further conclude that the Official testing method and especially the zero tolerance of bones in feedstuffs, and the conditions on the use of MBM for fertilising purposes need urgently re-examining.

For further details: Prof. Dr. Dr. Ewald Schnug, Federal Agricultural Research Centre (FAL), Institute for Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, Bundesallee 50, 38116 Braunschweig, E-Mail: pb@fal.de

Margit Fink | idw
Further information:
http://www.idw-online.de/pages/de/news99437
http://www.fal.de

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Light green plants save nitrogen without sacrificing photosynthetic efficiency
21.11.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Filling intercropping info gap
16.11.2017 | American Society of Agronomy

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Previous evidence of water on mars now identified as grainflows

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope completes final cryogenic testing

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond

21.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>