Winner of Teagasc Special Award at BTYSTE 2023: A sweeter way to treat equine parasites
Transition year students Aine Shortall and Kate Whyte from Moate Community School, County Westmeath, are the winners of the Teagasc award at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) 2023.
Aine Shortall and Kate Whyte from Moate Community School, County Westmeath, are the winners of the Teagasc award at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) 2023.
Their project looked at creating a solution to anthelmintic resistance in horses. They trialled a number of different herbs to reduce populations of parasites such as lungworm, redworm and liver fluke in horses.
They created a nutritious horse treat containing common herbs to act as a natural equine worm treatment. The herbs they used were Slippery Elm, Fennel, Thyme and Mint. The students fed the horses a treat each day for five days and measured the faecal egg count over a two-week period. They found that that the combined treat, including all four herbs but with a greater quantity of mint, was the most effective treatment, with a decrease of 92% in the faecal egg count.
The students said that as horse owners they were motivated to find a chemical-free alternative for treating equine parasites. They were advised by their teachers Irene O'Sullivan and Mairead Cusack. Orla Keane, a Research Officer at Teagasc Grange, advised the students on the methodology.
The winners of the 59th BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) were announced at a ceremony at the RDS on Friday, 13 January, 2023. The Teagasc special award winners also placed 2nd in the Intermediate Group in the Biological and Ecological Sciences category.
The Teagasc special award at BTYSTE, which is chosen by a team of judges at BTYSTE, is awarded to the project that best demonstrates a thorough understanding of the science of agricultural or food production, or the use of science to improve technologies available to agricultural or food production.
Another project by students at Loreto Secondary School, Dublin, won the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine award for their project ‘Can we save the Common Ash?’. Teagasc supported the project via forestry researcher Dheeraj Rathore, by giving advice and providing access to plant material, ash genotypes and fungal cultures.