Reduction of environmental risks and improving livestock productivity in Mixed Crop-Livestock Systems with cheap byproducts of berry fruits

2014 Annual Report for GNE14-089

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2014: $14,983.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2016
Grant Recipient: University of Maryland-College Park
Region: Northeast
State: Maryland
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Dr. Debabrata Biswas
University of Maryland

Reduction of environmental risks and improving livestock productivity in Mixed Crop-Livestock Systems with cheap byproducts of berry fruits


Environmental and health risks associated with the products from Mixed Crop-Livestock Farming (MCLF) systems due to cross contamination with zoonotic bacterial pathogens are major safety concerns. Current intervention strategies such as, administration of antibiotics for livestock production are of limited use due to the emergence of resistant pathogens and/or presence of antibiotic residues in foods. Further, organic MCLFs are not allowed to use antibiotics or chemicals. As a result, alternative approaches are critical to address the current issue. Natural bioactive compounds from plant origin can play crucial role in such a situation. Berry fruits are well documented as sources of natural antimicrobials which primarily consist of polyphenols and their bioactive derivatives. These antimicrobial components are present in berry byproduct called “pomace”, which are primarily seeds and skins of fruits after juice is squeezed out. These components show promising antimicrobial activity against various zoonotic pathogens especially Campylobacter and Salmonella. In this project, we approach to use bioactive extracts from berry pomaces as an alternative intervention to reduce pathogenic bacterial colonization in poultry gut. These bioactive extracts will also replace chemical growth promoters in livestock farming system, improve animal health and increase productivity. Microbiological quality of the compost is also expected to improve resulting in reduced prevalence of cross contamination of crops with zoonotic bacterial pathogens. We believe, this proposed intervention will mitigate pathogen associated risks in the farm environment and its products and, therefore, increase profitability especially in the MCLFs. So far, we prepared the berry pomace extracts to be used as water supplement in poultry. We received the IACUC approval for the animal experiment on December 11, 2014. We are preparing the animal experiment laboratory according the recommendations by IACUC. We plan to start the first experiment by last week of January, 2015.

Objectives/Performance Targets

In this study, we proposed to:



    1. Assess the effects of berry pomace extracts on the colonization of Campylobacter jejuni and Salmonella Typhimurium in poultry gut;


    1. Evaluate the effects of bioactive components of berry pomace extracts on the poultry productivity, feed conversion efficiency and overall health;


    1. Compare the microbiological quality of the composts produced from the manure of birds grown in presence or absence of berry pomace extracts.



In this project, blackberry and blueberry pomace extract is the major element that will be tested as a water supplement on the colonization level of Campylobacter jejuni and Salmonella Typhimurium in poultry gut. So far, we prepared/extracted 5 lb of each blackberry and blueberry pomace extract powder and stored at 4?C for further use. Pomace extract powder will be solubilized in water, mixed at 1:1 ratio and provided to the chicken.


Events and activities of your project over that past year in sequence:



    1. August 7, 2014: Experimental protocol submitted for IACUC approval.


    1. September 1, 2014 to December 14, 2014: Preparation of berry pomace extract for animal experiment.


    1. October 23, 2014: SARE contract complete.


    1. November 4, 2014: Revisions to the animal experiment protocol recommended by IACUC.


    1. December 11, 2014: Experimental protocol approved by IACUC.



The major portion in this project is based on experiment on poultry with water supplement with berry pomace extracts. We have been extracting bioactive components from berry pomace from September and gathered the required amount of extracts that will be needed in the experiment. We used alcohol based solvent to extract the bioactive compounds and evaporated the solvent to make powder of berry pomace extract.


To carry out the animal experiment, it is mandatory to get the approval of the protocol from the IACUC. It took more time than we expected to achieve the approval from. At last, we achieved the approval of the protocol this December and now preparing our animal experiment laboratory ready according to the recommendations and suggestions by IACUC and Department of Environmental Safety, UMD. Once these preparations are done, we intend to start our first trial by the last week of January, 2015. We lagged behind the proposed timeline due to unwanted reasons but we still believe, the project can be finished in a timely manner because we put 2 months between two trials in the original proposed timeline. We also left 4-5 months after the final trial. We can shrink the proposed timeline and hope to finish the project on time.  

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

The project is still in the beginning and preparation steps, so no outcome have yet been found. As a result, no outreach activities have been carried out. We prepared and tested the berry pomace extracts and we believe berry pomace extracts will reduce the colonization of pathogenic bacteria, such as Campylobacter jejuni and Salmonella Typhimurium in poultry gut. Consequently, cross contamination of crops with pathogenic bacteria will be reduced especially in the organic MCLF where compost from the manure serve as sole source of fertilizer. Moreover, bioactive berry extracts will work as organic growth promoters just like antibiotic growth promoters used in farm animals. We believe the use of organic and natural antimicrobials, instead of chemicals and antibiotics, will improve the biosecurity of products in the MCLF as well as reduce the environmental and health risks in agriculture. It will reduce the costs related to the administration of antibiotics and chemical growth promoters. In addition, natural or “green” antimicrobials will improve consumer satisfaction.


Dr. Debabrata Biswas

[email protected]
Assistant Professor
University of Maryland-College Park
3147 Animal Science Building
University of Maryland-College Park
College Park, MD 20742
Office Phone: 3014053791