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The following tape recorded program is a presentation of the National Association of educational broadcasters. You'll be interested to know that the Italian Navigator has just landed in the New World that with the voice of author Compton he first reported the birth of atomic energy the birth of a new world. This series has been called the New World. Its aim is to outline some of the great benefits that atomic energy is bringing to mankind. The program's up produced by the University of Alabama.
Program seven atomic energy and livestock in Oak Ridge Tennessee the University of Tennessee and the Atomic Energy Commission together run a joint agricultural research program. Dr. SEO Komal was at one time connected with this program and is now chief scientist at the Oak Ridge Institute of nuclear studies. We asked him to tell us about agricultural research in general terms and then to discuss some aspects of this subject in more detail with some of his colleagues. And this he agreed to do. Here is Dr. Komaki. Agricultural research in this country using radio isotopes has become rather widespread and broad in scope over the recent years. For example there are active investigations now underway in the fields of soils evaluation the use of fertilizers plant nutrition plant physiology a
study of insects and pesticides and the study of disease control both in animals and plants and of course the study of animal nutrition and animal production. This type of work is being supported enthusiastically by the Atomic Energy Commission but more particularly by the state agricultural experiment stations the land grant colleges private institutions and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To cite one or two examples and perhaps it is unfair to everyone to mention these. But just to be specific. At the University of Maryland and at the University of Minnesota doctors Shaw and Peterson respectively. Are undertaking a very active project in studying the milk secretion process how this works
how to get the animal to produce efficiently more milk. And Dr. Kleiber at the University of California Davis has also been studying this process using radioactive carbon to study the milk sugars and how they are formed at Michigan State. And Dr. Tooky is the head of horticulture has been studying for some time now the problems of plant nutrition and how it is possible to spray nutrients on leaves and to see whether the plant can actually use them here and overage at the University of Tennessee agricultural research program. Various aspects of animal nutrition have been undertaken. And now to go into perhaps a little more detail. And some of the work that is being done I should like to introduce some of my colleagues working here at Oak Ridge
Dr. peepee Levine who is professor of poultry diseases at New York State Powell and Dr. Levine is here for a year to study the application of radioisotopes to his field. And later on we are going to that in some more detail. Also we have major grant Kuhn who is in the Veterinary Corps of the U.S. Air Force assigned here at Oak Ridge for studies on the use izing radiation and radio isotopes and veterinary and animal problems. I'm sure that everyone. First I ask you how come about in Iran in the Air Force. Oh Dr. Komarr briefly as a part of the Air Force medical service team the officers in the
Veterinary Corps are interested primarily in the health of Air Force personnel and we do this through. Food inspection and the institution and direction of public health measures within the ER for such as Communicable Disease Control and also assist in the research activities of interest to the Air Force. Well that's very fine. Coming back to Dr. Levine he probably won't appreciate my saying this modest and he ed but not to the end of one of the outstanding research workers in the field of poultry diseases. And I'd like to ask you Dr. Levine What is your general outlook as far as the application of the new techniques of atomic energy to research in the agricultural fields.
In so far as I can see Dr. Kumar The longer I stay here the more possibilities I see in the application of radioisotopes and the general field of atomic energy to my particular specialty specifically and to the to the solution of many of the veterinary disease problems in general. What do you think a lot of the primary staffs that need to be undertaken so that we can exploit this tool patiently. Well certainly the very first and and the primary step that must be taken is to get the training necessary in people interested in the problem as so that they can effectively utilize that these tools. And that's why I'm down here as you would as you know.
My own feeling is that we have to have the people who are well trained in the biological and understand what isotopes can do for them. Harz a good example of this I think is the research that was done on the screw arm fly. I wondered if you could outline that for us. And Dr. Levine and give us the principles involved. Well Dr. Lee and others in the in the medical field of the U.S. Department of Agriculture conceived the idea of utilizing utilizing radiations to sterilize the Mayo screw worm fly. You. Know why would anybody want to do that. The biologists the entomologist known screw worms are monogamous in other words after the
female is fertilized the federalization takes place by any other line. The conception was that if a large number of male flies could be sterilized and released would then mate with the females. And in view of the fact that these would be sterile and the females that eggs would in turn be sterile and as a result after a while the population would diminish One.Tel it would practically vanish. I understand that some rather extensive real experiments along these lines have already been completed. Apparently the of the island in the Caribbean where this has been done has has given very excellent results. As a matter of fact they have practically wiped out these as were a screw worm problem down there and at the present time they are embarking on a
much larger area of the state of Florida I believe is to be the next place I understand that the crew arm has quite a problem especially in the south. Do you know anything about that Major. Well you really have the screw are large. Actually eat into the flesh of animals once they gain entrance and they gain entrance by the female laying eggs in the movie. Usually this is of considerable importance to the livestock economy of the nation and needless to say any utilization of radiation to control this problem would be a great boon to our agricultural economy. Well I don't like the any question that this particular method is doing a fairly good job and it also illustrates that we must get the
biologist into this who but a biologist would know about the mating habits of the screw arm fly and thus be able to see an application. How about some of your research and some of the things that you're doing here. Dr. Levine would you care to comment upon those. Well Dr. Kumar my primary problem in coming here was to acquaint myself with the radioisotope techniques and thanks to you I'm getting that information. Also I hope to be able to apply some of these techniques to some problems which at the present time have not yet been solved in my a particularly field. At the present time I'm working with a parasitic infection of birds which mainly is found in the intestinal tract. This is not just a biological fact it is a fact of a
very extreme economic importance to poultry farmers because mortality from this type of infection and the general term used is the mortality from this infection is exceedingly high. So I was hoping to be able to come to grips with the problem of immunity to infection with this parasite induces the first thing for instance that I'm hoping to do is to see whether or not we can tag the organisms that produce this infection in birds with some radioisotope Komarr you might care to explain what the word means. Yes I think. This had very important implications in using radioactive materials which are now available in large quantities. We can think of using the radiation to produce some
kind of an effect as with the screw are implying or perhaps equal and even greater importance we can follow all the pathway various nutrients and compounds or microorganisms through the metabolic field by the use of radio isotopes we can actively label these materials so that from then on we can follow them and see what happens to them. And this leads us to a very great case and and this is the problem of in general animal nutrition we see a need to understand more about how nutrients are taken and by the animal the Zogby utilized and excrete it. I happen to know that you have done some of the
earliest work from some of the best work in this yourself Dr. Komarr and I I think would be only fair if you would come. And on the worth it you have done in the investigation of possible deficiency in cattle for instance. The work through now we've called valving top private demand for it was done at the University of Florida live before workers down there particularly not for your education. Davis as you know there seems to be a tremendous problem of minor element deficiencies particularly in cattle. We have situations where you might have what appears to be a very lush past year but yet the animals and do not thrive and that investigation showed that when very small amounts of these so called minor nutrients were
applied that the animals then could use the forage and could develop and give the fish and production and so we have a situation from a practical standpoint where for giving just a few cents worth. Something like a cobalt of copper saw you get increased rarely the product of 80 of the land. We had the problem of trying to find out what happens to let us say a milligram of cobalt when it's given to a thousand pounds dear and when you distribute a milligram of cobalt through a thousand pounds of animal tissue you have a hard time finding it. This was one of the very first problems in which radio isotopes were used with large animals and by using a radioactive cobalt it was possible to give very small amounts and do follow this material through them if the abolition of the animal and seed exactly the
words left and what happened to it. And it was shown confirming other work of course that the primary function of this particular minor ailment was in the room and evidently the animal needed to have this an element so that the room and bacteria could function and use the nutrients for the animal itself so that this type of study which then led to the whole problem of vitamin B-12 which has been so important has really led us to an understanding to our basic knowledge. These particular phenomena Dr. Levine your interest as primarily and study of animal diseases. Would you care to make any further comment. I see in the use of radioisotopes the the extension of our knowledge of animal diseases and Animal Disease Control
by the use of these isotopes as another tool with which to work. There are many problems with reference to animal disease a spread of the disease the control of immunity induced by various vaccines and so on which at present cannot be answered at least not very easily or cheaply or quickly. I can see any number of possibilities in the use of isotopes in helping solve these problems. We know in line with that research in nutrition for example the it it's possible with these radio techniques or the use of radio isotopes to measure calcium. In bone in my grow micro micro gram quantities whereas with ordinary chemical methods it's heretofore only been possible to
measure them in a milligram quantities at best wouldn't you say a doctor coma. Yes this has been one of the outstanding achievements perhaps of the use of radioisotopes in animal nutrition particularly in the case of calcium which everyone recognizes as being one of the more important or major minerals because it's used for skeletal structure. Sound bones and teeth. We have a problem in the infant in the grows we have the problem in old age and depletion of bone and so on. And radioisotopes given us a rather nice picture of just how this particular element behaves in the animal or in the human being for that matter in relation to the various components of the diet. It's perhaps a little too early to give very specific examples of the advances that have been made
but in at least one case we are now able to determine very nicely the so-called end dodginess loss of calcium from the body. And this is been very important particularly was the aged animals I'm talking now. I'm not counting experiments and we've been able to show for instance that the in old age the endogenous loss keeps on going it even increases whereas the ability of the animal to absorb calcium from the diet also decreases. And one thing that is being looked at very carefully as some way in which we can prevent this loss of calcium from the body and this will probably have to come to the interaction of the hormone system with then because this seems to be controlling the calcium metabolism. And I'm interested in the use of radio isotopes to investigate.
The effects of radiation from various sources in animals and this in relation to the the effect of the use on the extended use of nuclear energy. Our entire lives Dok population. This might result from the extended peacetime use such as and power reactors are even in their research efforts is that I want us thinking I have major COUN. Well yes either the use in power reactors or the continued use of isotopes and as tracer elements for biological or other research however there is no indication that these are a hazard or that there will be a hazard. But he's just the best we know so that there won't be. It seems that we should look ahead. And in the long
run the economic exploitation and usage of atomic energy made to a large measure depend upon the expenditures that have to be made. For protective purposes that's right. I would also point out to your interest in the animal population has to recognize much broader implications because we're primarily interested of course and what happens to human beings. And it is only by experimentation and observations on animals that we can get this information on human beings that we will eventually need as one of our main purposes in this whole. Radio biology field is to disseminate the information throughout the nations and thereby utilize the benefits. You might say the intelligent you lose ation
of this great thing. Well that's very fine. Of course in the overall cycle of things we have not only to be sure that the food products are raised and produced properly we have to make sure that they reach the consumer in an acceptable form. And it is here that a nother process is involved. Where atomic energy may become of more immediate practical application I am talking now about the use of nuclear energy for the radiation sterilization of foods. The quartermaster car of the army and many other of our institutions have been much interested in this. Lieutenant Colonel Bernard I have tried has been assigned by the United States Army to Oakridge to undertake work on ionizing radiation and various aspects of this in connection with animal health and food.
What is the overall problem involved and perhaps the advantages in the use of radiation for food sterilization possibilities of the use of vine izing radiation and introduces a new method of so-called cold sterilization. It looks as if we might be able to keep green things for example the Green stock of food like potatoes and things like that in a resting state without changing them in any way. I wonder if you could define very briefly just the basic principle involved. We have enough facilities and Isaac radiations of two types of beta radiation and gamma radiation beta radiation of course is going to be limited to Sim films. Liquids and such materials might be penetrated in a matter of a few centimeters.
And this is because the beta radiation itself cannot penetrate more than a few said I know because the particle size it can and penetrate more than a few centimeters. Rather unlimited depending upon infusion sources again and this radiation and activates the bacteria how they organise EMS of course Farland and well either kill them or arrest their development. That's right. I wonder if you could sketch briefly for us the size of the research effort and perhaps mention some of the organizations that have this type of work underway. Well for several years the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Doctor Proctor and his assistant to gold lead in the University of Michigan under the leadership of Dr. Lloyd now in the piney and much of this work. The
University of Chicago the American Meat Institute in the United States forces tremendously interested in this and us sponsoring themselves many programs to investigate this phase of preservation. This is because of the Armed Forces of the largest labs of food in the world. I understand that it costs us country perhaps something like two hundred and sixty million dollars a year for food storage. And if this is a fair figure then even a small percentage saving would amount to many millions of dollars. Yes indeed not coma has all now we know all the food may be sterilized and sterilized to practically sterilized. That is you can put it away forever far as we know one way and it will keep by having been
irradiated by gamma rays. One of the side effects is the changes in taste that have not been overcome. As yet in these changes are due to informatic actions within the food itself. Well Colonel Truong we realize that. There is not time to go into all of the details of cost availability of sources and the biological effects on the food. However I wonder if you could possibly sum up again has to the future outlook. I think a summary of the future outlook would have to say that we won't eliminate the present day means of refrigeration and freezes and such but if we can stop the growth for example going to sprouting of potatoes it causes such a great excitement in the recent demonstrations put on by the Atomic Energy Commission like the
killing of chicken also in the pork which is a very green house. HANSEN You know our country then these things will be quite a contribution to preservation in general. I certainly want to thank you Colonel from for visiting with us. Dr. C. I will call our chief scientist at the Oak Ridge Institute of nuclear studies was talking at Oak Ridge with Lieutenant Colonel Bernard aft of the United States Army. Earlier in the program Dr. Komarr introduced Dr. peepee Levine of New York State Veterinary College who is now studying at Oak Ridge. And major grant of the United States Air Force. They're good. You have been listening to the seventh program in the series the new world dealing with the
New world of atomic energy
Atomic energy and livestock
Producing Organization
University of Alabama
Oak Ridge Institute
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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This program features the voices of Dr. C.L. Comar of Oak Ridge, Dr. P.P. Levine of New York State Veterinary College, Maj. Grant Kuhn of the U.S. Air Force, Lt. Col. Bernard Trumm of the U.S. Army.
About peacetime uses of atomic energy, with experts from Oak Ridge and other atomic energy centers.
Agriculture--United States--History--20th century.
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Interviewee: Comar, C. L. (Cyril Lewis), 1914-
Interviewee: Levine, P.P.
Interviewee: Kuhn, Grant
Producer: Gouds, Moyra
Producing Organization: University of Alabama
Producing Organization: Oak Ridge Institute
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 56-7-7 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:54
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Chicago: “New world of atomic energy; Atomic energy and livestock,” 1956-02-12, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 22, 2021,
MLA: “New world of atomic energy; Atomic energy and livestock.” 1956-02-12. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 22, 2021. <>.
APA: New world of atomic energy; Atomic energy and livestock. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from