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March 7, 2023
By Jessica WessonU of A System Division of Agriculture
Download related PHOTOS
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Poultry vaccine research using a technique similar to allergy
testing in humans and a project to discern the digestibility of phosphorus from meat
and bone have earned two student scientists recognition at the International Poultry
Chrysta Beck and Jay Hampton, poultry science graduate students in the Dale Bumpers
College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas, were
honored for sharing their research during the annual meeting Jan. 30-Feb. 1 in Atlanta.
Beck presented her research on the immune responses of chickens to Salmonella vaccine injections and received the Certificate of Excellence in the “Physiology,
Endocrinology and Reproduction: Layers, Breeders” category by the Southern Poultry
Science Society. Hampton’s mineral digestibility research presentation was awarded
the Outstanding Graduate Student Research Presentation in the “Metabolism and Nutrition
“Poultry products are major contributors to human salmonellosis cases, and effective
management of Salmonella during pre- and post-harvest is necessary to reduce human foodborne illness,” Beck
With a decline in the use of antibiotics in broilers, Salmonella vaccination programs are increasingly important, she said. According to a study conducted by the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association,
the use of antibiotics in broilers decreased from 90 percent in 2013 to zero percent
While vaccination programs are largely successful, some may contribute to liver damage
“Insight into the physiological responses to these vaccinations are necessary to improve
the development and optimization of safe Salmonella vaccines that can enhance bird performance and quality of life,” Beck said.
To assess those responses, Beck injected dead Salmonella bacteria into skin tissues that produce feathers. This allowed her to determine local
immune responses over time for a single animal.
“This method is similar to allergy skin tests and patch tests that are used in human
medicine,” she said.
Her current study was conducted using Light-brown Leghorn pullet chickens and her
next study will look at inflammatory responses to a commercial Salmonella vaccination in the liver, spleen and cecal tonsils, as well as the gut bacteria of
While earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Mississippi State University,
Beck worked in a microbiology lab that studied the application of probiotics in broiler
hatching eggs. She learned that bacteria-based vaccinations could shape the performance
of a chick, which intrigued her.
“Because of this I wanted to be more competent in understanding the complexities of
the avian immune system and how it connected to bird well-being and performance,”
Gisela Erf, professor of poultry science, supervised Beck’s work. Erf conducts research
for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture through its research
arm, the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station.
“I reached out to Dr. Erf, and she graciously welcomed me into her lab to grow in
this field of research.”
Hampton’s research gauges how well poultry can digest the important mineral phosphorus.
“Traditionally, phosphorus is supplied in broiler diets through inorganic rock phosphates;
however, recent publications estimate that these sources are dwindling,” Hampton said.
“To this end, there is a need to establish phosphorus digestibility values from meat
and bone meals as literature on these sources are limited — especially sourced from
The factors driving digestibility are unknown, and Hampton’s goal is to find the relationships
between meat and bones and their characteristics.
Accurate values are important to poultry nutritionists “so phosphorus is adequately
supplied as it is important for bird performance, health and maintaining animal welfare
standards,” Hampton said.
“Meat and bone meals provide adequate levels of phosphorus and can be obtained from
Hampton’s research was supervised by Sam Rochell, associate professor of poultry nutrition
at Auburn University and former assistant professor of poultry nutrition for the Arkansas
Agricultural Experiment Station. Michael Kidd, professor of poultry nutrition for
the University of Arkansas System, also assisted with the research.
“I would like to thank Dr. Rochell for all the help and guidance during graduate school,”
Hampton said. “I also cannot say thank you enough to my fellow lab mates and Dr. Mike
Kidd’s lab for helping collect samples during a hectic time. My current research will
hopefully provide more insight into meat and bone meal digestibility values, and I
am excited to present at future conferences.”
To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension
Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division
of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: https://aaes.uada.edu/. Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture,
visit https://uada.edu/. Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen
agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption
of best practices.
Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service,
the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s
historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas
System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity,
sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran
status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative
Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences: Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates
who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment,
agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice
candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs.
The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S.
senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture. For
more information about Bumpers College, visit our website, and follow us on Twitter at @BumpersCollege and Instagram at BumpersCollege.
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Media Contact:Jessica WessonCenter of Excellence for Poultry Science479email@example.com