Environmental Compatibility:

The poultry industry faces a wide range of complex environmental problems affecting air, soil, and water quality, and human health.  Some are long-standing and will be with us for many years to come, such as nonpoint nutrient pollution of ground and surface waters by nitrogen, phosphorus, and trace elements (arsenic, copper, zinc) found in poultry manures.  Others are relatively recent, such as the widespread national concerns about air quality associated with ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds, and fine particulates originating from poultry houses. And some environmental issues can be characterized as emerging concerns because of our limited understanding of their origins and impacts.  Examples include endocrine disruptors (estrogen, testosterone) found in manures, the fate and transport of viruses and other pathogens during disease outbreaks and subsequent disposal of poultry mortality, and the environmental and human health effects of antibiotics used in poultry production.  These environmental issues have also generated social conflicts between poultry producers and their neighbors, a growing problem given the rapid conversion of farmland on Delmarva to urban/suburban uses. The overall goals of the Environmental Compatibility program are:

  1. Conduct basic research on the origin, chemical forms, bioavilability and transport of environmental contaminants associated with poultry production;
  2. From applied research, develop management practices that mitigate or reverse the environmental impacts associated with poultry production and manure management;
  3. Provide outreach programs that educate the poultry industry, advisory and regulatory agencies, and the public about the nature and solutions to environmental problems

Some specific research areas now being investigated by Avian Biosciences Center faculty and staff include:

Best Management Practices for Good Neighbor Relations
Developing and Managing Value-Added Soil Amendments Produced from Broiler Litter
Improvement of Dietary Phosphorus Utilization through the Use of Phytase
Understanding and Mitigating the Impacts of Air Quality on the Environment
Fate, Transport, and Management of Avian and Food-Borne Pathogens
Biogeochemical Cycling, Transport, and Management of Trace Metals and XenobioticsEnvironmentally Sound Disposal of Poultry Mortality