Official Recognition of Progress in Feed Analysis

US - The Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) has given an award to Dr Julee Driver for her research in quantifying the amount of the antibiotic, neomycin, in animal feeds.
calendar icon 28 September 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

South Dakota State University (SDSU) PhD graduate, Julee Driver, was recently awarded the Single Laboratory Validation of the Year by the Association of Official Analytical Chemists for her ground-breaking research on verifying amounts of antibiotics in livestock feed.

While pursuing her PhD, Driver worked to prove the statistical reliability of a new method used to measure amounts of neomycin, an antibiotic used to prevent and treat disease, found in animal feed products.

The two-year study was conducted at SDSU in just one laboratory, a notable factor as analytical research as thorough as Driver’s often requires multiple facilities for testing and statistical verification.

Using a single laboratory was not the only remarkable aspect of the study: Dr Driver chose a topic frequently overlooked by analytical chemists.

"The field of animal feed is an area that has often been neglected in research," she said. "Originally, the importance of animal feed quality was not well understood."

Dr Driver's work underlines the necessity of maintaining accurate information on product labels. While labels may claim certain quantities of antibiotics or other ingredients found in animal feed, livestock owners have no means of verifying the amounts. Even a small error may be detrimental to animals. Analytical chemists such as Dr Driver, work to verify the safety and reliability of product claims.

Her innovative research resulted in improved accuracy and precision over the current process for testing neomycin in animal feeds, a method that had seen little change since the 1960s.

Much of Dr Driver's inspiration stemmed from her time spent as a pharmaceutics analyst. While conducting her study, she used principles learned from pharmaceutical research and applied them to her work in animal feed, an approach that ultimately yielded successful and beneficial results.

"I am excited to be recognised for performing a thorough statistical study," said Dr Driver. "It will be even more exciting if the method performs well in the collaborative study and can become an official AOAC method."

Dr Driver successfully defended her dissertation this past July, earning her PhD in chemistry from SDSU. She currently works as a scientist for SGS, a seed-testing facility in Brookings, where she runs chemical and biosafety analyses.

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