Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Biosensors' on four feet detect animals infected with bird flu

Date:
August 30, 2010
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Blood hounds, cadaver dogs, and other canines who serve humanity may soon have a new partner -- disease detector dogs -- thanks to an unusual experiment in which scientists trained mice to identify feces of ducks infected with bird influenza. The proof-of-concept study may pave the way for development of "biosensors on four feet" that warn of infection with influenza and other diseases.

A mouse earns a water reward for choosing the odor of samples of feces infected with avian flu over a feces sample from ducks that were not infected.
Credit: Maryanne Opiekun, Ph.D., Monell Chemical Senses Center

Blood hounds, cadaver dogs, and other canines who serve humanity may soon have a new partner ― disease detector dogs ― thanks to an unusual experiment in which scientists trained mice to identify feces of ducks infected with bird influenza. Migrating ducks, geese, and other birds can carry and spread flu viruses over wide geographic areas, where the viruses may possibly spread to other species.

Reported in Boston at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the proof-of-concept study may pave the way for development of biosensors-on-four-feet that warn of infection with influenza and other diseases.

"Based on our results, we believe dogs, as well as mice, could be trained to identify a variety of diseases and health conditions," said U.S. Department of Agriculture scientist Bruce A. Kimball, Ph.D., who presented the study results. The study was among nearly 8,000 scientific reports scheduled for presentation at the ACS meeting, one of the largest scientific gatherings of 2010.

"In fact, we envision two broad, real-world applications of our findings," Kimball added. "First, we anticipate use of trained disease-detector dogs to screen feces, soil, or other environmental samples to provide us with an early warning about the emergence and spread of flu viruses. Second, we can identify the specific odor molecules that mice are sensing and develop laboratory instruments and in-the-field detectors to detect them."

Kimball cited the likelihood that a suite of chemicals, rather than a single compound, are responsible for producing the difference in fecal odor between healthy and infected ducks. His team is investigating the use of instruments in detecting these so-called volatile, or gaseous, metabolites in animal feces. Once accomplished, they can use statistical techniques to sift through the data to determine the pattern of volatiles that indicate the presence of infection.

Kimball and colleagues from the Monell Chemical Senses Center trained inbred mice to navigate a maze and zero in on infected duck feces. The mice got a reward of water every time they correctly identified the infected sample and no reward when they zeroed in on feces from healthy ducks. Eventually, the mice became experts at identifying feces from infected ducks.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "'Biosensors' on four feet detect animals infected with bird flu." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100824231216.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2010, August 30). 'Biosensors' on four feet detect animals infected with bird flu. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100824231216.htm
American Chemical Society. "'Biosensors' on four feet detect animals infected with bird flu." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100824231216.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Rare Lion Cubs Make Debut at Belgrade Zoo

Raw: Rare Lion Cubs Make Debut at Belgrade Zoo

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) Two white lion cubs were born in Belgrade zoo three weeks ago. White lions are a rare mutation of a species found in South Africa and some cultures consider them divine. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sweet Times for Hard Cider Makers

Sweet Times for Hard Cider Makers

AP (Oct. 16, 2014) With hard cider making a hardcore comeback across the country, craft makers are trying to keep up with demand and apple growers are tapping a juicy new revenue stream. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Meet Garfi the Angry Cat

Meet Garfi the Angry Cat

Buzz60 (Oct. 16, 2014) Garfi is one frowny, feisty feline - downright angry! Ko Im (@koimtv) introduces us to the latest animal celebrity taking over the Internet. You can follow more of Garfi's adventures on Twitter (@MeetGarfi) and Facebook (Garfi). Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins