‘JNU professors part of Poultry research’

NEW DELHI: Two professors of JNU have received part of the 20 million pounds grant from the UK Government as part of the international research programme to tackle the challenge of poultry farming and nitrogen pollution in India. The poultry research will explore the rising demand of poultry and the problems of infectious aviary disease and antimicrobial resistance in the poultry sector. The researchers will also study on how to improve nitrogen management in agriculture and reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers by making better use of manure, urine and natural nitrogen fixation processes.

A One Heath Poultry Hub has been established with funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) under its Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

This interdisciplinary Hub will address the need to meet rising demand for poultry meat and eggs in developing countries, while minimising risk to international public health.

Rajib Dasgupta a professor of community health at JNU stated that “population growth is driving continually increasing demand for poultry meat and egg production. However, rapid intensification creates conditions for diseases to emerge and spill over to people. These include bacterial food poisoning and strains of avian influenza with epidemic or pandemic potential.”

He also informed that increased antimicrobial resistance due to misuse of antibiotics in poultry farming is also a major global threat.

“Using innovative methods that enhance existing microbiological, epidemiological and social science, we will contribute research-based evidence to support policies and systems that can meet anticipated for poultry meat and egg production whilst minimising adverse public health consequences and reducing risks to human and animal health and welfare in a One Health (OH) framework.”

Similar to the poultry hub, JNU is also part of the South Asian Nitrogen Hub, a partnership led by the UK’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and comprising around 50 organisations from across the UK and South Asia.

The Nitrogen Hub will study the impact of the different forms of pollution to form a coherent picture of the nitrogen cycle. In particular, it will look at nitrogen in agriculture in eight countries – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Maldives.

Umesh Kulshrestha of JNU’s School of Environment Science stated that “Nitrogen pollution is caused by emissions from chemical fertilisers, livestock manure, and burning of fossil fuels. Gases such as ammonia and nitrogen dioxide contribute to poor air quality and can aggravate respiratory and heart conditions, while nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas that depletes the ozone layer. Nitrate from chemical fertilisers, manure and industry pollutes rivers and seas, posing a health risk for humans, fish, coral and plant life.”

The study he says will look into how nitrogen pollution can be minimised.

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