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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit » Research » Research Project #433196

Research Project: Biophotonics - The Application of Novel Imaging Methodologies to Livestock Production Research

Location: Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit

Project Number: 6066-31000-015-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Aug 15, 2017
End Date: Aug 14, 2022

Objective:
1. Develop and adapt existing imaging and photon emitting technologies toward describing the intrauterine environment, and sperm qualities such as motility, and develop strategies to enhance and improve reproductive health and fertility in food animal reproduction systems. 1.A. Examine in vivo uteroplacental hemodynamics following acute maternal infusions with vasoactive supplements. 1.B. Development of in vitro and ex-vivo approaches for cellular and tissue biophotonic imaging using nanoparticles. 1.C. Development of specific molecular-based approaches for in vivo biophotonic imaging. 1.D. Development of alternate biophotonic animal models and the use of digital infrared thermal imaging and near infrared (NIR) spectroscopic approaches to study specific reproductive health, environmental, and/or physiological processes in livestock and poultry. 2. Use novel imaging and related technologies for the tracking of relevant pathogens (disease stressors; e.g. Salmonella, Mycobacterium avian paratuberculosis) in avian and livestock hosts using photon emitting sentinels in the animal system and/or environment (e.g., nanoparticles, energy transfer systems, transformed bacterium) to address bacterial abundance and persistence related to livestock well-being and production performance, and develop mitigation strategies. 2.A. Use of biophotonics imaging strategies to establish potentially unknown infection sites of Mycobacterium avium subsp. Paratuberculosis in a rodent model. 2.B. Development of alternate biophotonic animal models and the use of digital infrared thermal imaging approaches to study various disease states in livestock and poultry.

Approach:
There is a critical need for technological innovations that will permit production-based questions to be asked and answered in the context of the living animal. The overall goal of this project is to develop technologies that can perform in situ time-lapse and in vivo bio-imaging of cellular and molecular events and biological processes in livestock and poultry, in real-time. Specifically, this basic and applied research will target the improvement of reproductive efficiency and the mitigation of disease, which are both essential for efficient food and fiber production. Novel technologies will utilize photonic and/or thermal signatures, spectroscopy and/or fluorescence, ultrasonography, and nanotechnology in adaptive research aimed at facilitating physiological assessments related to reproduction and disease monitoring in livestock and poultry. To this end, this project is designed to cover a broad range of research in the organismal, cellular and molecular life sciences aimed at understanding production performance end-points through the development of new life-science research models. With these new models in place, translational research can then be applied in livestock and poultry production-management settings for application to the real-world enviroment.