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STTR Phase I: Protecting Livestock from Airborne Disease Transmission Using Non-thermal Plasma Airstream Disinfection
Phone: (734) 417-9639
Phone: (734) 417-9639
Contact: Herek Clack
Type: Nonprofit college or university
The broader impact/commercial potential of this STTR project stems from the costs to U.S. food producers of outbreaks of animal diseases. Producers of poultry, pork, and other food proteins lose more than $1B each year to infectious diseases, including some that are transmitted through the air. For diseases having an airborne transmission route, protective technologies that are available are few and can be costly to implement and operate. This project furthers the development of a new alternative technology, non-thermal plasmas, for the simultaneous removal and inactivation in air of the organisms responsible for the transmission of disease to livestock. This project evaluates how conditions in the environment typically found near livestock affect the performance of non-thermal plasmas. This project also pursues a technique for accelerating the process of improving non-thermal plasma performance, upon the completion of which new and improved non-thermal plasma devices can be developed for applications such as this more rapidly than is possible now. Completion of the project will enable the development of lower-cost protective technologies for maintaining livestock health, making such technologies economically accessible to a larger segment of food protein producers, ultimately lowering food costs and increasing domestic food security. This STTR Phase I project proposes to experimentally demonstrate and evaluate the effectiveness of a non-thermal plasma (NTP) as a means of preventing disease-carrying particles in outside air from infecting livestock housed in animal confinement buildings. NTPs are stable electrical discharges that simultaneously contribute to the removal of airborne particles while also subjecting them to chemical attack capable of killing harmful viruses. While NTPs have been demonstrated for disinfection of fixed surfaces, and to a lesser degree for the destruction of chemical contaminants or biological pathogens in air, the intellectual merit of this project stems from its evaluation of trace gases commonly present in the air around livestock, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, and their potential to both enhance and diminish the performance of NTPs used in farm environments. Additionally, this project will identify non-biological tracers suitable for use in NTP optimization testing which will accelerate the development of improved designs. Two separate lab-scale NTP reactors will be used in the execution of the project. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *