VIEWS: 1 PAGES: 3 CATEGORY: Agriculture POSTED ON: 6/18/2010
[...] the pots-manufactured without any petroleum components- would slowly release beneficial nitrogen into the soil. Air filters made with feather fiber will have smaller holes, which would result in more spores, dust, dander, and other allergens being removed from the air and trapped in the filter.
STEPHEN AUSMUS (D1503-21) Feathers Can Be for More Than Pillow Stuffin’ f at first you don’t succeed, try, try I Schmidt’s persistence has paid off. In again. For some, that is just an old collaboration with the Horticultural Re- saying; to others, it is a mantra. search Institute (HRI)—the research and ARS chemist Walter Schmidt has development endowment of the American lived it for years. Nursery and Landscape Association, Schmidt, in the Environmental Manage- based in Washington, D.C.—Schmidt and ment and Byproduct Utilization Labora- HRI research associate Masud Huda have tory in Beltsville, Maryland, develops formulated planting pots that can degrade practical uses for discarded chicken feath- over variable periods of time—from 1 to ers. About 4 billion pounds of feathers are 5 years. generated each year during the poultry The pots look and feel like any other production process. plastic planters encountered at your local In 1998, ARS published its first story nursery, but they are made to disintegrate about Schmidt’s research—using chicken naturally, without harm to the environ- feather fiber in the formation of plastics. ment. In fact, the pots—manufactured without any petroleum components— would slowly release beneficial nitrogen into the soil. While feathers are routinely processed STEPHEN AUSMUS (D1480-1) into feather meal—a livestock feed in- gredient—there are a lot more chicken feathers available. Why can’t they just be used to stuff pillows? Using an injection molder at the Chicken Processing Industry Environmental Management and Byproduct Chicken processors are very efficient Utilization Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, polymer chemist Masud Huda businesses, finding ways to automate (background), chemist Walter Schmidt most of the procedures for getting chick- (center), and Marc Teffeau, director of ens from farm to market. They have also research for the Washington, D.C.-based reduced the amount of water used during Horticultural Research Institute, produce biodegradable flowerpots from chicken processing. But when all is said and done, feathers. they are still left with a lot of feathers. Goose down is used to st
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