Transport Genie, University of Saskatchewan research collaboration funded by Swine Innovation Porc (SIP)

May 07, 2019
Field trials with Transport Genie smart sensors aim to improve biosecurity in swine transport industry
GUELPH, Ontario, Canada – A research collaboration involving agri-tech start-up Transport Genie Ltd. and a team led by Dr. Terry Fonstad of the University of Saskatchewan has been awarded funding from Swine Innovation Porc (SIP) through the Swine Cluster 3 program.
The funds will support the third phase of a multi-year research project aimed at improving biosecurity in the swine transport industry. 
“We’re proud to contribute to the vital work being done by Dr. Fonstad and his research partners across Canada to improve the health and welfare of farmed animals,” said Joel Sotomayor, President and CEO of Transport Genie Ltd. 
The long-term aim of the SIP project is to develop a livestock transportation system that maximizes animal welfare and uses trailers that can be cleaned and disinfected quickly, effectively and affordably. The researchers will work with industry partners to deploy Transport Genie smart sensors to monitor temperatures inside swine transport trailers during “baking” — also called thermally assisted drying and disinfection (TADD).
“Our previous research demonstrated that dry heating (baking) to temperatures of  75C for at least 15 minutes has the potential to eliminate pathogens of concern to the North American swine industry such as porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV),” said Fonstad, Associate Dean Research and Partnerships at the University of Saskatchewan. “This project expands on that work to verify whether the baking process can reliably destroy pathogens in real-world conditions, in a variety of trailer types and cleaning facilities, summer and winter.”
Fonstad’s team is also looking at ways to optimize trailer design and automate the cleaning and disinfection process, which is labour-intensive and uses large amounts of water and harsh detergents.
Biosecurity is increasingly important for the swine industry as it responds to the challenges posed by infectious diseases including PEDV and emerging threats such as African swine fever (ASF). Recent outbreaks in Asia and Europe have made containing ASF a top priority worldwide. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) hosted the African Swine Fever Forum in Ottawa April 30 – May 1 to help industry and government stakeholders develop strategies for containing ASF. While neither PEDV or ASF is a risk to human health or food safety, they are lethal to pigs and have cost the swine industry billions of dollars globally. Health regulations now require all vehicles used to transport animals to be cleaned and disinfected before they cross the Canada-U.S. border.
“The industry has already moved to implement baking trailers to 75C for 15 minutes. But they haven’t had the scientific data to develop clear biosecurity protocols for baking because until now, they’ve lacked reliable instruments to verify that the entire trailer is being heated to the correct temperature,” said Fonstad. Additional research may determine that heating to a higher temperature for a shorter period, or lower temperature for longer periods, would also achieve satisfactory results. “It’s exciting to be working on a project that could have huge economic and animal welfare benefits for the industry from something that’s so simple to do.”
Transport Genie sensors will capture the data Fonstad’s team needs to map the temperature regime inside the trailers in order to verify and improve the baking process. In addition, Transport Genie can be used to control environmental systems like cooling fans and drinkers during transport, which, along with the system’s GPS capabilities, will help improve animal welfare and traceability.
“This collaboration is a significant opportunity for us to demonstrate the value and utility of Transport Genie technology, and to advance our mission to improve the agricultural system by enabling smart decision making through capturing and sharing data all along the supply chain,” Sotomayor said.
Source : transportgenie
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