Grant awarded: Steven Ricke receives USDA-NIFA funding to study bioenergetic solutions that improve animal health

Steven Ricke, professor of animal and dairy sciences, and Jessica Hite, assistant professor of pathobiological sciences, received $297,000 for their project Harnessing iron metabolism to limit salmonella in pre- and post-harvest poultry through NIFA’s AFRI Food Safety and Defense program. It was among 26 projects sharing $11 million in funding.

Project summary (from CRIS website):

This project will test the efficacy of promising new bioenergetic solutions to improve animal health and limit the transmission of harmful bacterial pathogens. The goal of this proposal is to test a new method for controlling food-born bacterial infections: encapsulate iron. Specifically, we will determine how encapsulated iron affects S. enterica growth, virulence, and competitive interactions with beneficial gut microbes using established in vitro cecal and intestinal models and next-generation sequencing methods. We will also evaluate the anti-Salmonella therapeutic efficacy of SQM on infected broiler chickens by tracking the growth and gene expression of S. enterica during key pre- and post-harvest stages.These studies will provide critical information for how functional feed supplements might be used as a weapon against S. enterica. More broadly, given the conserved nature of iron metabolism across bacteria, we expect these data and methods will carry applications for other pathogens beyond S. enterica and carry much-needed non-pharmacological solutions to combating antimicrobial resistance.