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Birds Use Herbs To Protect Their Nests

Date:
May 27, 2004
Source:
American Society For Microbiology
Summary:
Researchers from Ohio Wesleyan University suggest that some birds may select nesting material with antimicrobial agents to protect their young from harmful bacteria.

NEW ORLEANS – May 26, 2004 – Researchers from Ohio Wesleyan University suggest that some birds may select nesting material with antimicrobial agents to protect their young from harmful bacteria. They present their findings at the 104th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

"If the fresh herbs and plant materials that parent birds bring into the nest have a sufficient concentration of antimicrobial compounds, they could protect the nestlings from harmful bacteria," says researcher Jann Ichida.

To find out if plants brought into the nest might prevent disease, Ichida and colleagues tested twelve different volatile plant materials against feather-degrading bacteria. Results showed that several types of plant materials and extracts including usnic acid, ascorbic acid, yarrow, and two oak species inhibited the growth of a number of harmful bacteria.

"If the fresh herbs have a sufficient concentration of these chemicals, they could protect the nestlings from harmful bacteria," says Ichida. "By practicing medical botany, parent birds exercise effective home nest security and protect their offspring from select biodegrading microbes that affect the health of their young."


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The above story is based on materials provided by American Society For Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Society For Microbiology. "Birds Use Herbs To Protect Their Nests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 May 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040527080935.htm>.
American Society For Microbiology. (2004, May 27). Birds Use Herbs To Protect Their Nests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040527080935.htm
American Society For Microbiology. "Birds Use Herbs To Protect Their Nests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040527080935.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

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