WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A team of researchers at Purdue University has received $1 million in funding to help reduce the time it takes to detect bovine respiratory disease in beef and dairy cattle.
Mohit Verma, who serves as an assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue, is helping lead a team of researchers made up of experts from Purdue’s College of Agriculture, as well as individuals associated with Purdue Extension, to develop new technology that will detect BRD in a matter of minutes, instead of days, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture Interdisciplinary Engagement in Animal Science.
BRD is one of the most frequent and costly diseases to affect cattle herds through a bacterial infection that can cause pneumonia and breathing issues.
Verma said it now can take a few days to get results that confirm whether cattle have BRD because the infection can be provoked by numerous bacteria and viruses, but he and the team of researchers are working to develop biosensory technology that would allow farmers to test for BRD in the field and have those results within 30 minutes.
Part of the research involves studying samples of BRD in affected cattle to determine what pathogens are present and what antibiotic would be the most effective in treating the animal.
Verma said he and the group have been researching the topic for a few years, but over the next two years they hope to use the funding to develop a prototype that will allow them to begin testing for BRD in the fields.
“This is a big team effort, a really big team effort,” he said, adding that several other researchers have made significant contributions to the research.