Poultry farmers might want to look to a familiar product to stop the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza through feed additives.

New research shows Anitox’s Termin-8 feed additive product, a blend of formaldehyde, propionic acid, terpenes and surfactant, designed to stop the spread of microbes through feed, can be effective in stopping the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) through mash feed.

Dr. Kurt Richardson, Anitox’s chief science officer, said research from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, demonstrates the product originally designed to fight Salmonella in feed can also be effective in stopping the spread of HPAI through animal feed.

While there hasn’t been any outbreak of HPAI in the U.S. since June 2015, the scale and cost of the 2014-2015 U.S. outbreak has forced the poultry industry to improve biosecurity through the supply chain. Richardson said many are talking about measures controlling what comes into the chicken houses by way of ventilation and personnel, but comparatively few are thinking about HPAI entering a flock through mash feed.

“It’s not in their biosecurity program, because they’ve never had to think about it before. It’s something new for the industry,” Richardson said in an interview.

Richardson pointed to a September report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture which studied feed as a vector for HPAI. The study said feed or grain, left uncovered and the open, can host and transmit the HPAI virus. Droppings from wild migratory birds, believed to be the source of HPAI outbreaks, can contaminate the feed.  Mash feed, in particular, is more susceptible to HPAI transmission because it is not heated like pelleted feed.  

The USDA study suggested improving biosecurity measures for feed storage at the feed mill or the farm “would likely be a more cost effective strategy, given the high cost of feed treatment, and the very low to low overall estimated risk of HPAI transmission by passerine birds.”

Anitox is working with the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, which funded the Auburn University research along with the Lawrenceville, Georgia, company, to do additional research into HPAI, its transmission through feed products, and effectiveness of it's additive in stopping viral spread through the feed supply.

The formaldahyde based feed additive has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to prevent the spread of salmonella. Richardson said the company will not be looking to get the FDA to approve HPAI control as a label claim for the product.

Dr. Haroldo Toro, professor of avian diseases in the department of pathobiology, at Auburn University will present more about his research concerning Termin-8 at International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta. He will speak at the IPPE Pathogen Control Breakfast Symposium, hosted by Anitox, on Tuesday, January 26.