TUCKER, Ga. – Researchers at the Univ. of Iowa, Iowa City, have designed a technology to inactivate and prevent the spread of the avian influenza (AI) virus by addressing the disposal of contaminated carcasses and manure, according to the US Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) and the USPOULTRY Foundation.

Funded in part by an endowment from West Liberty Foods, the research project, “Analysis of Poultry Gasification Parameters for Elimination of Avian Flu Exposed Birds and Manure,” was led by Albert Ratner, Ph.D., at the university’s Dept. of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.

The project was in response to the US Dept. of Agriculture’s “Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Response Plan,” which identified a need for a more effective disposal method in the aftermath of recent, widespread AI outbreaks. Ratner and his colleagues developed a technology to be used during future AI outbreaks to eliminate the virus quickly at farms that have been infected and control the spread of it.

According to a summary of the research, “One intriguing way forward is to heat the carcasses and manure in a mobile trailer to quickly react to outbreaks before they can spread. The trailer would hold multiple gasifiers, which would be used to heat up the trailer. From there, a conveyor system would take the carcasses and manure through the trailer until the virus is destroyed.”

The research provided the required speed of a conveyor on a 5-m. trailer using a temperature of 350°F, depending on the weight of the carcasses passing through.

“The research completed in this project is all that is required for mobile trailers to be designed and implemented,” the summary said. “With this information, a company or governmental organization would be able to design and build their own trailer systems that could quickly react to avian influenza outbreaks. Avian influenza outbreaks will be much easier to contain locally with the addition of this new disposal method.”