Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department


Committee Chair/Advisor

Joseph S. Thrasher

Committee Member

Stephen E. Creager

Committee Member

George Chumanov


The poultry and rendering industries have played important roles in both the diets of humans as well as environmentally sustainable development. However, a recent article published by Dr. D. C. Love and co-workers at Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future revealed concerns that pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) might be able to re-enter the human food supply by being present in feed grade chicken feather meal, i.e., be consumed by and accumulate in the tissue of chickens or other animals. Their study showed twenty-four PPCPs that were detected above the reporting limits in a total of twelve feather meal samples (five feed grade and seven fertilizer grade) bought in the United States and China.

Since this publication may have controversies in terms of the specific origin of the samples of chicken feather meal, and insufficient evidence existed to support the source of the contamination found in the feather meal samples, it was thought that addition studies were warranted. Samples of raw chicken feathers and fresh chicken feather meal were either collected or received from three (3) rendering plants from different geographical regions of the country. To analyze the samples, EPA method 1694 was followed, and the conditions of an HPLC-MS/MS (high-performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometer) were adjusted to test the performance of low-concentration (ppb level) drug detection of sixteen analytes: acetaminophen, erythromycin, norgestimate, sulfachloropyridazine, sulfadimethoxine, sulfamerazine, sulfamethazine, sulfamethizole, sulfamethoxazole, thiabendazole, enrofloxacin, norfloxacin, 1,7-dimethylxanthine, caffeine, ofloxacin, and diphenhydramine. The results indicated that the mass spectrometer used, which contains a quadrupole ion-trap analyzer, has a lower sensitivity and thus a higher detection limit for the aforementioned sixteen analytes than a triple quadrupole analyzer, which is the standard instrument recommended by the EPA method and AXYS Analytical Services Ltd. In order to continue the project, the samples were then sent to AXYS Analytical Services Ltd., the same firm that carried out the analyses for the Johns Hopkins study. The results showed that these samples of chicken feather meal were not nearly as contaminated as those studied in the aforementioned publication, and that the contaminants may come in part from the raw chicken feathers and accumulates in the dissolved air filtration (DAF) system. The poultry industry should take care of the source of diphenhydramine, anhydrochlortetracycline (ATCT), and sulfadimethoxine, which were in high concentrations in our samples.



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