Economic losses inside the European Union caused by the red poultry mite are now running at roughly €130 million or nearly £90 million every year. The mite causes blood spotting on eggs, making them unfit for sale. In severe cases the infested birds can become badly anaemic and fall ill, or get infections caused by bacteria and viruses which can be passed on to people, giving them dangerous illnesses.
“With the recent changes in regulations brought on by new threats like bird ‘flu, coupled with a growing and widespread resistance to the chemicals we use to fight poultry mites, called acaricides, we urgently need to develop new approaches to combat these pests”, says Dr Olivier Sparagano from Newcastle University, UK.
“If somehow we could develop a method to destabilise the symbiotic bacteria that we have discovered living inside the mites, therefore removing the beneficial effect, we could develop a new control method for the chicken red mite”, says Dr Sparagano.
If the scientists are successful then the use of acaricide chemicals could be cut, which in turn would reduce the harmful effect they have on the environment and cut down cases of skin rashes and dermatitis in poultry farmers, smallholders and meat packers. Some traces of acaricides have even been found in eggs intended for human consumption.
“The bacteria are obviously very important to the mites. A new control method based on attacking the symbiotic bacteria inside the mites’ bodies would also create economic benefits through higher egg quality and production, and fewer diseases transmitted by these parasitic mites. It would also lead to better welfare for the birds”, says Dr Sparagano.
Red poultry mites are a direct threat to economically valuable birds, suspected of passing on diseases like Newcastle Disease. But they have also been shown to be part of a wider chain transmitting diseases to people and other animals such as the food poisoning bacteria Salmonella, and equine encephalitis in horses.
Lucy Goodchild | EurekAlert!
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22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
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Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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