Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Metal in feathers could provide bird flu clues

16.03.2007
Measurements of different forms of the metal strontium found in bird feathers could unravel mysteries of their migration patterns and help predict the arrival of avian carried diseases such as bird flu.

The news is reported in the latest edition of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry.

Concerns about the spread of bird flu means there is an urgent need to find better ways of monitoring the movements of migrating birds.

Dr Laura Font and a team at the University of Durham have developed a technique based on thermal ionisation mass spectrometry (TIMS) that can measure very low concentrations of strontium isotopes in bird feathers. (Isotopes of an element have the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons in their nucleus)

The team measured strontium isotope levels in the feathers of the sedge warbler, and mapped how this changed with geographic location.

Dr Font said: “The routes of migrant birds have previously been studied using a variety of techniques, such as marking individuals with metal leg rings, radio or satellite tags, or simply counting bird numbers at migratory stop over points.

“But these labour intensive methods generate relatively little date and often do not reveal the origin of individual birds.”

Migratory birds regularly renew their feathers, often prior to migration – and the feathers tend to reflect the unique “isotopic signature” of the region in which they were grown.

Although analysis of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen isotopes can give a rough idea of the birds’ origin, strontium isotope ratios in the bones, claws and egg shells of birds tend to provide a much more precise location.

Unfortunately, bone analysis is too invasive for routine use. But Dr Font’s technique has finally made accurate analysis of strontium in feathers a viable option for tracking birds.

Dr Font said: “By determining migration pathways, the arrival of potential vectors of diseases from infected areas can be anticipated.

“Knowledge of migratory routes also helps evaluate the likelihood that individual avian influenza outbreaks could be related to migratory movements rather than anthropogenic activities, such as poultry movements, which are believed to be the main vector of avian influenza in most outbreaks.”

Tony Kirby | alfa
Further information:
http://www.rsc.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Upcycling 'fast fashion' to reduce waste and pollution
03.04.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>