Feather & Down Analysis

feather and down test resultsAlthough allergy to feather is considered to be rare, allergic reactions can be triggered by contaminants on the feather and down including house dust mites, feather mites, avian serum proteins and mould in sensitised individuals. In addition, exposure to microbial contaminants in feather and down including mould and bacteria could potentially cause illness in susceptible people. Commercial processing of feather and down has progressed greatly to remove these contaminants. However, it is crucial to have accurate methodologies to determine the effectiveness of this processing, which is known to be highly variable across the globe.

Where allergen accumulation is concerned, the integrity of the barrier function of the ticking fabric is a key consideration.

Avian Allergen Contaminants

airmid healthgroup designed and filed an International Patent on 09-03-12 for a new method of assessing the effectiveness of a commercial treatment process on avian allergen removal from feather and down.
The method measures avian allergen levels at various stages of the feather and down treatment process in a number of filling materials used in:

  • Pillows
  • Duvets
  • Clothing
  • Soft articles

The following feather associated proteins are measured as part of the avian allergen assessment:

  • Avian IgG using a specific ELISA developed at airmid healthgroup
  • Mite Group II using a specific ELISA manufactured by Indoor Biotechnologies
  • Total Protein using a Pierce™ Protein Assay

feather and down packed in bags for testingMicrobial Contaminants

In addition to the test for avian allergen removal, an assessment of the level of microbial contaminants can be performed on feather and down at various stages of a commercial treatment process using the British Standard BS EN1884:1999 in addition to an assessment for levels of fungi and species identification.
Microbial contamination can be determined at various stages of the feather and down treatment process in the various filling materials listed above. The following micro-organisms are quantified as part of the microbial assessment:

  • Mesophilic Aerobic Bacteria
  • Salmonella
  • Clostridia perfringens
  • Faecal Streptococci
  • Fungi

For more information on the new method for assessing feather and down serum protein contamination, click here.