As people become more aware of their food sources, they increasingly demand â€œorganicâ€, â€œnaturalâ€, â€œhormone-freeâ€, and â€œdrug-freeâ€ food products. In addition to market demand, it is also desirable to eliminate or limit the use of antibiotics because harmful organisms tend to become antibiotic resistant over time, requiring larger doses or the development of new drugs. This scenario is especially prevalent in chicken production that sometimes involves flocks as large as 300,000 birds.
To help meet market demands, while at the same time addressing the very real risk of disease in such large scale chicken production, Jeremy Tzeng and Clemson colleagues Fred Stutzenberger, Robert Latour Jr. and Ya-Ping Sun have developed a new kind of chicken feed that actually binds with the pathogens and allows them to pass harmlessly through the chicken's digestive system. As explained by Tzeng, "If we use this physical purging, physical removal, we are not using antibiotics so the chance of the microorganism becoming resistant to it is really smallâ€, calling the new technology â€œintelligent chicken feedâ€.