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Advanced Technologies to Mitigate Disease in Poultry Production

As more poultry producers incorporate antibiotic-free (ABF) practices into their operations, the need for innovative disease mitigation technologies has also increased. Amlan International is meeting this demand by developing next-generation products, using mineral-based technology, that optimize bird intestinal health and add value for the producer.

 

In this post we examine four technological advances that could help drive progress in managing disease, bacteria and toxins in flocks while meeting consumer demands for high-quality animal protein. We discuss the advanced mineral technology that is the foundation of Amlan’s natural feed additives as well as a unique diagnostic service offered by Amlan. We also highlight technology on the market from other (unaffiliated) companies that our team thought might be useful for ABF producers to consider when looking for new ways to manage disease in their flock.

 

  1. Optimize intestinal health with advanced mineral technology

In a crowded feed additive market, advanced mineral technology is the Amlan difference. As the animal health business of Oil-Dri® Corporation of America, Amlan’s scientifically proven products are backed by

Oil-Dri’s 80 years of experience in mineral science. The single-source raw material that is the core of Amlan’s products is calcium montmorillonite with high-capacity opal-CT lepispheres. Proprietary thermal processing — that does not use harmful chemicals — is tailored for each product to create unique functionalities.

 

Calibrin®-Z (available in select international markets) is a broad-spectrum biotoxin binder that protects poultry and livestock from biotoxins that reduce performance and cause morbidity or mortality. All-natural Calibrin-Z binds polar (e.g., aflatoxin) and nonpolar (e.g., zearalenone) mycotoxins, as well as bacterial toxins like those produced by C. perfringens, E. coli and C. difficile. Binding these biotoxins enhances intestinal health to improve feed efficiency and overall animal performance.

 

  1. Minimize production loss with timely mycotoxin diagnostic results

When determining whether feed is contaminated with mycotoxins, a fast and accurate analysis is critical for preventing the negative health and production effects mycotoxins can cause. Amlan has partnered with Envirologix, the world’s most trusted name for quantitative testing kits at the point of grain delivery, to bring producers . This program provides on-site quantitative mycotoxin detection results within 10 minutes. The test identifies mycotoxin contamination levels in the feed, and Amlan’s dose calculator can be used to determine the optimal dose of  to apply in the animal’s ration to mitigate the toxin threat.

 

  1. Automation technology increases animal welfare and detects disease

Robot automation in poultry barns is a growing segment of the poultry industry. Robotic technology uses sensors and 2D and 3D cameras to perform repetitive and time-consuming tasks such as disinfecting barns, picking up floor eggs, vaccinating and managing litter.

 

Increasingly important in modern poultry operations, robotics can also help mitigate production risks and ensure animal welfare goals are met. Thermal imaging can be used to detect animal body temperatures, early disease indicators, record bird activity/welfare and report mortalities while performing their assigned tasks. Monitoring technology can also help producers observe environmental metrics in facilities such as temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide and ammonia levels. A recent development in this area is using sensors to determine when a poultry house smell is no longer “normal.” This technology could help identify a biosecurity or disease risk to a flock.

 

  1. Blockchain technology facilitates food traceability

Modern consumers are increasingly demanding to know more about how and where their food is raised. Blockchain technology, often in combination with other digital tech, helps track and trace animals and food products throughout the supply chain by linking small packages of data to provide a digital audit of meat production and food safety. At the farm level, these data points could include point of origin, veterinary and feed source records and transportation dates.

 

As poultry move through the food production system, blockchain technology records significant data points to ensure food supplies meet the traceability requirements that consumers demand. In the processing sector, for example, blockchain can link production information with the final product’s labeling and packaging information to ensure compliance with brand commitments. Blockchain offers incredible promise for connecting poultry growers with new market opportunities.

 

These emerging trends are important to monitor so producers can determine how best their operations can evolve and remain competitive. Investing in the right technologies will be the key to moving poultry producers to greater production, improved efficiencies,  enhanced market opportunities and increased profitability. At Amlan, we are developing and bringing to market advanced feed additive technologies that optimize the intestinal health and production efficiency of producers’ flocks while preserving the economic viability of poultry production. To learn more, click .

 

 

 

Fifteen Years of Driving Profits Naturally: The History of Amlan International

Dan Jaffee profile with Amlan International logo.

Oil-Dri® Corporation of America has been active in the animal health market since the 1980’s with products designed to help feed flowability and pellet binding. But in 2007, Oil-Dri took a leap — a well-informed, scientifically-backed leap — further into the animal health market with the registration of the Amlan International brand and the official launch of their animal health business. Fifteen years later, Amlan International is a successful global brand that helps poultry and livestock producers optimize intestinal health and add value to their operation. So why did Oil-Dri, a company founded on a garage floor oil adsorbent, decide to invest in animal gut health solutions? And what does the future look like for Amlan?

Creating Value for Animal Health Producers

Consumer demands and concern over antimicrobial-resistant pathogens have created a global push toward antibiotic-free and natural animal protein production. But this change in production has also created the need for natural solutions to help manage the health and productivity of flocks and herds. As Dan Jaffee, President and CEO of Oil-Dri and President and General Manager of Amlan, explains, Oil-Dri saw the opportunity to create value for animal protein producers by leveraging an Oil-Dri-owned mineral to develop novel, natural feed additive solutions under the Amlan brand.

“We realized there was a market need, and Oil-Dri had an incredible natural solution to the problem. Our clay naturally does amazing things; but then when we combine our clay with our multi-million-dollar research investments, in our core lab and our new microbiology lab, we’ve been able to do some incredible things. And we’re really just at the beginning.”

—Dan Jaffee, President and CEO of Oil-Dri, President and General Manager of Amlan

As the animal health business of Oil-Dri, we take full advantage of the benefits that vertical integration brings, including control over the quality of our mineral and ensuring consistency of supply for our customers. We also leverage the 80 years of Oil-Dri mineral science expertise, and we share the values and business ethics of Oil-Dri.

A Broad Range of Natural, Value-Adding Products

Amlan started with just two products, sold internationally outside of North America — biotoxin binding Calibrin®-Z and aflatoxin-binding Calibrin-A. Both products are made from our single-source calcium montmorillonite that undergoes proprietary thermal processing tailored for each product. It’s our mineral’s natural properties and our proprietary processing technique that make our mineral-based products stand out from other clay additives in the market.

Investing heavily in research and development has allowed us to expand our international product range by combining natural ingredients with our mineral to develop synergistic intestinal health solutions for production animals. This included the 2015 launch of Varium® for poultry and NeoPrime® for swine, which help reduce the level of pathogenic challenge in the intestine, strengthen and energize the intestinal barrier and stimulate intestinal immunity. The technology behind Varium and NeoPrime is patented in Brazil, Indonesia, Korea, the European Union, the United States and China, with other countries pending.

Most recently we expanded our international product portfolio with the launch of Phylox® Feed, a natural alternative to anticoccidial drugs and vaccines and NeutraPath®, a natural pathogen-control product (available in select markets). In 2021, Amlan also launched a broad portfolio of products specifically for North American producers. And we’re not done — we have more innovative products in our research pipeline that will continue our efforts to optimize animal intestinal health and provide value for producers.

Your Animal Intestinal Health Partner

Innovative products are a great start for a new business, but we see customers as partners, not numbers on invoices, so we also needed knowledgeable technical service specialists and a strong sales team to support our mission of creating value for our customers. Our team helps customers achieve their production goals by integrating rations with the best Amlan solutions for each situation. As Dan Jaffee mentions in the video below, this includes trialing products first to show customers the true value Amlan can bring to their operations.

Growing Our Future and Yours

Our goal for the future is to continue investing in innovation to continue developing natural solutions to industry challenges that can help producers drive profits naturally. You can hear Dan’s thoughts on the future of Amlan in the video below. Everyone at Amlan shares Dan’s excitement about the intestinal health solutions we are bringing to the animal production industry and the value our products offer for producers. To learn more about Amlan, our innovations and our team, visit our Who We Are page.

 

Exploring Coccidiosis Control Options, Including a New Natural Alternative

Phylox feed biology poultry house

The negative impact that coccidiosis has on bird health and production economics make it a constant challenge for poultry producers. Total eradication of Eimeria species from the poultry house is unlikely, so producers focus instead on suppressing coccidia to prevent subclinical disease performance loss, or worse, a clinical outbreak.

There are multiple options available for managing coccidiosis in poultry, including vaccination, and anticoccidials (synthetic chemicals and ionophores), although producers desire to move away from pharmaceutical solutions or harsh chemical additives, and concerns regarding resistance persist. A new natural alternative to anticoccidial drugs and vaccines — that provides equivalent performance — is Phylox® Feed. In this post, we provide an overview of each coccidiosis control method and share data on the comparable efficacy of Phylox.

Vaccines Stimulate Immunity Against Select Eimeria Strains

Administered to day-old chicks, vaccines targeted to specific Eimeria species stimulate the bird’s immune system and provide some immunity before they are exposed to wild-type Eimeria. Vaccination also aims to reduce the severity of coccidiosis symptoms if infections occur. However, live virulent vaccines — and to a lesser extent live attenuated ones — can still cause damage to the intestine that can affect performance that has to be overcome with sufficient grow out time and compensatory gain.   It is also important to note that birds are also not protected against all Eimeria strains, just those included in the vaccine dose itself.

Anticoccidial Chemicals Work Well, But May Promote Drug-Resistant Strains

There are multiple anticoccidial drugs available that are made from synthetic chemicals, all of which have different modes of action. Commonly used prophylactically to prevent outbreaks, these chemicals disrupt the Eimeria life cycle by working as either a coccidiostat or a coccidiocide. While they are effective, extended use of most anticoccidial chemicals can promote the emergence of drug-resistant Eimeria strains. Different programs can be used to help slow or stop resistance, such as bio-shuttle or rotation programs. Use of anticoccidial chemicals may also require a withdrawal period prior to slaughter.

Ionophores Are Effective — If Their Use Is Permitted

Ionophores are produced by the fermentation of microorganisms, and unlike anticoccidial chemicals, the mode of action of all ionophores is similar. They form a complex with ions (e.g., calcium, sodium, potassium) and transport this complex across the Eimeria cell membrane. This alters the electrochemical gradient and the cell dies. Ionophores are not effective against all coccidia life cycle stages. They can be used long-term and ionophore/synthetic chemical combination anticoccidials are available in some markets.

Ionophores also have some antibacterial activity, which has led to their classification as antibiotics in some regions. This has meant restriction of ionophore use in antibiotic-free production systems in those areas.

A Natural Feed Additive That Addresses the Shortcomings of Other Anticoccidials

Natural feed additives are available for producers looking for pharmaceutical-free anticoccidial solutions that can be used in a “no-antibiotics-ever” (NAE) production system. Amlan International recently launched Phylox Feed (available in select international markets), a natural alternative to anticoccidial drugs and vaccines. Phylox can be effective in a rotation strategy when resistance is a concern and can also be used with Amlan’s mineral-based products to help maintain gut health and improve efficiency.

Phylox is a synergistic blend of antiprotozoal phytochemicals that have multiple modes of action against the Eimeria life cycle. These actions include disrupting the Eimeria cell membrane and preventing oocyst sporulation and replication. Phylox also energizes host intestinal cells to create a strong intestinal barrier to resist disease and lightly primes the immune system by enhancing antigen presentation.

Phylox Exhibits Comparable Efficacy to Other Control Methods

In multiple third-party trials, including in broilers raised in floor pens, Eimeria-challenged broilers fed Phylox had equivalent or numerically improved performance compared to broilers administered industry-standard anticoccidials. This included vaccination, a bio-shuttle program, as well as when anticoccidial chemicals and ionophores were tested. 

Southern Poultry Research (Athens, GA) compared the relative efficacy of Phylox with a chemical coccidiostat (nicarbazin) and an ionophore (salinomycin) in broilers challenged with Eimeria species. Phylox showed equivalent feed conversion and coccidia lesion scores compared to the commercially available coccidiostats.

Feed Conversion Rate Info Graphic | Amlan International
Coccidial Lesion Scores Info Graphic | Amlan International

Similarly, in a study at the University of Arkansas, broilers raised in floor pens and fed Phylox had improved key performance indicators compared to the challenged control. Phylox also showed a numeric performance improvement in body weight compared to all tested industry anticoccidial standards, including vaccination and bio-shuttle with salinomycin, and statistically heavier body weight when compared to the treatment receiving an anticoccidial vaccine alone.

Additionally, Phylox did not interfere with vaccine efficacy when fed concomitantly, as Phylox provided equivalent results for all measured variables when it replaced salinomycin in a bio-shuttle program for broilers.  The performance of Phylox when fed on top of vaccination, and also in replacement for Salinomycin in a bio-shuttle program were important findings in this study as they demonstrated that Phylox is effective in preventing coccidial reinfection in poultry either through a reduction in oocyst shedding, or via the degradation of ingested oocysts in the gastrointestinal track before they are able to cause a significant incidence of the disease.

Average Body Weight Gain Info Graphic | Amlan International
Mortality-adjusted Feed Conversion Info Graphic | Amlan International

Phylox Feed fills the gaps that are missing from other coccidiosis control methods: it can be used in NAE programs, has no withdrawal requirement, won’t promote the emergence of drug-resistant coccidia and isn’t targeted to only specific Eimeria strains. Phylox can also have value in broiler breeder and/or table egg pullet replacement programs to prevent significant disease breakthroughs during the development of bird natural immunity.  For more information on how to incorporate Phylox into your coccidiosis control program, contact info@amlan.com.

The Culture Behind Our Mineral Science

The culture behind our mineral science.

We’re innovators of natural mineral-based feed additives that optimize intestinal health and add value for animal protein producers. But that’s not the entire Amlan story. We’re grounded by our family roots, backed by vertically integrated mineral expertise and we bring mineral-based solutions to the animal production industry that are distinctly ours.

About Amlan info graphic.

The Distinctive Properties of Our Biotoxin Binder Calibrin®-Z

Calibrin-Z binding with Amlan logo info graphic.

Proprietary mineral technology is the foundation for Amlan’s innovative value-added products for animal protein producers. In this article, we take an in-depth look into the mineral technology used in our all-natural feed additive Calibrin®-Z and its unique properties that are the Amlan difference.

Consistent, Controlled Mineral Supply

The physical and chemical properties of a mineral can differ depending on where it is mined. That is why — to ensure consistent quality — Amlan only uses a single-source mineral in our products. Amlan is vertically integrated as the animal health business of Oil-Dri® Corporation of America, allowing Amlan and Oil-Dri to control every step of the production process and reliably deliver safe, high-quality products.

Calibrin-Z: Our All-Natural Broad-Spectrum Biotoxin Control Product

Calibrin-Z protects poultry and livestock health and performance by binding intestinal pathogens, bacterial exotoxins and endotoxins and polar and nonpolar mycotoxins. It is composed of a single ingredient — our proprietary mineral technology, thermally processed to create the specific physical and chemical properties that give Calibrin-Z its powerful mode of action.

A Network of Interconnected Pores

The distinctive properties of Calibrin-Z include a high surface area and extensive porosity. More than 99% of Calibrin-Z’s total surface area is internal due to the product’s structural properties. This means that targeted molecules can migrate via interconnected networks of capillary channels towards internal binding sites. These physical features provide Calibrin-Z with a high adsorption capacity for binding a broad range of mycotoxins, bacterial pathogens and their toxins.

Layers Within Layers

The mineral in Calibrin-Z is a particular type of phyllosilicate (“phyllo” meaning sheet) and is primarily calcium montmorillonite with amorphous opal-CT lepispheres and other minor and trace minerals.

Phyllosilicates consist of silicon, oxygen, magnesium and water molecules, and either aluminum or iron atoms. The aluminum, iron or magnesium atoms form octahedron structures, whereas the silicon forms tetrahedrons. These formations give the mineral a nano-scale structure of a 2:1 layer of octahedrons between tetrahedrons. Between the 2:1 layers are interlayers of water molecules and cations (Figure 1). Various positively charged sites in the mineral structure — interlayer cations and broken edge octahedral units — provide the adsorption sites.

Structure of Mineral in Calibrin-Z Binding Info Graphic | Amlan International
Figure 1: A progressive view of the structure of the mineral in Calibrin-Z down to the nano-scale layers.

Proprietary Thermal Processing

Typical montmorillonites have water molecules between the mineral layers that make the pores and surfaces hydrophilic for adsorbing hydrophilic (polar) molecules (e.g., aflatoxins) but do not bind hydrophobic (nonpolar) molecules (e.g., zearalenone and fumonisin). However, the montmorillonite used in Calibrin-Z undergoes proprietary thermal processing that uses an optimized temperature and time to allow adsorption of hydrophilic and hydrophobic toxins (Figure 2).

Thermal Processing of Calibrin-Z Info Graphic | Amlan International
Figure 2: Thermal processing of Calibrin-Z allows binding of hydrophilic and hydrophobic molecules.

Thermal processing eliminates most of the water molecules from the mineral in Calibrin-Z, making it more hydrophobic. The process is carefully controlled since excessive heat that completely dries the mineral — removal of the interlayer water molecules — would destroy Calibrin-Z’s binding capabilities. The naturally occurring opal-CT lepispheres help maintain the layered sheet structure of the mineral during processing and provide Calibrin-Z’s high binding capacity (Figure 3). Amlan’s proprietary processing method also avoids the use of harmful chemicals typically used by other companies preserving a natural composition.

Structure and Processing of Calibrin-Z Info Graphic | Amlan International
Figure 3: Naturally occurring opal-CT lepispheres maintain Calibrin-Z’s structure during thermal processing (removal of a controlled amount of interlayer water molecules).

A Variety of Binding Mechanisms

Calibrin-Z’s binding forces include hydrophobic interactions, chelation, electrostatic attractions, hydrogen bonding and van der Waals forces. Thermal processing allows an interaction between both polar hydrophilic molecules and non-polar hydrophobic molecules and the inter-mineral layer. This is the method used to adsorb mycotoxins to Calibrin-Z.

Bacterial exotoxin binding to Calibrin-Z occurs through molecular ion exchange mechanisms. For example, a part of the Clostridium perfringens alpha-toxin electrostatically anchors (tethers) to either the positively charged broken-edge sites (exposed alumina octahedra) or the positively charged interlayer cations of Calibrin-Z.

Molecular conformation change mechanisms are also possible binding methods. Large exotoxins can distort their molecular structures or conformations to adsorb themselves onto macro-surfaces within the pore spaces.

Compatible With Nutrient Availability

While Calibrin-Z excels at binding biotoxins, its binding abilities do not interfere with the absorption of important nutrients in the diet. It is possible that some minor quantity of nutrients could temporarily be absorbed into Calibrin-Z’s pores. However, this is via weak thermodynamic and kinetic interactions that are readily reversible. Therefore, nutrients can travel in to and out of Calibrin-Z particles based on concentration gradients in the gastrointestinal tract.

A 42-day swine study conducted by SAMITEC in Brazil, examined the performance of pigs fed a common basal diet (Control) and Calibrin-Z included at 5 kg/MT, a level that is 10 times the recommended dose. Even at this very high inclusion rate, Calibrin-Z had no adverse effects on nutrient availability, supporting equivalent weight gain and feed conversion.

Body Weight and Calibrin-Z Info Graphic | Amlan International

The proprietary mineral technology used in Calibrin-Z is what sets it apart from other companies’ mineral-based products. For more information about Calibrin-Z and how it can help protect your animals from the deleterious effects of biotoxins, contact us at info@amlan.com.

Amlan International North American Product Portfolio Meets Producer Needs

Amlan North American product logos

Amlan International is excited to offer our North American customers an exclusive portfolio of mineral-based feed additives that support gut health and improve the sustainability of poultry and livestock production. The North American portfolio expands our efforts to support optimal intestinal health in protein-producing animals around the world.

Consumers in North America, like global consumers, demand high-quality animal protein raised without antibiotics. These consumer preferences, coupled with concerns about microbial resistance, have put producers under pressure to reduce the use of in-feed antibiotics. Consequently, North American producers and vertical integrators are seeking cost-effective, non-antibiotic, natural feed additives that support feed conversion and optimal intestinal health. Their search ends with our North American product range that can help with these challenges.

Our mineral-based feed additives offer multiple advantages for animal protein producers. The products support optimal gut health and meet the demands for cleaner food while reducing the inputs needed to raise production animals, helping to decrease the cost and environmental impact of poultry and livestock production.

Our North American sales and technical service team, led by Heath Wessels, Director of Sales and Technical Service for North America, is eager to partner with top-tier producers to help them achieve their production goals by integrating Amlan products into their operations. “Our natural feed additives are formulated to have strong synergy with each other for supporting optimal gut health,” said Heath. “We offer individual product solutions or can recommend product combinations for maximum results.”

The new product line will only be available for sale in North America but will be offered with the same excellence and reliability that global producers know and trust from our international product offerings. Amlan is vertically integrated as the animal health business of Oil-Dri® Corporation of America, allowing Amlan and Oil-Dri to control every step of the production process and reliably deliver safe, high-quality single-sourced products from company-owned mines.

The North American product portfolio strengthens our commitment to leading the industry in supplying natural feed additives that support animal intestinal health and add value for producers. Meet our products below, and if you have any questions about our North American product portfolio, please contact info@amlan.com.

Amlan North American Product Portfolio Text Graphic | Amlan International

An AGP Alternative That Really IS an Alternative

Varium logo with chickens in the background.

Source: ThePoultrySite.com, 5 Jan 2022

A natural feed additive that yields performance results comparable to AGP use? It really does exist. Varium® supports a healthy intestinal tract AND can help provide production economics similar to antibiotic-fed birds.

Read the full article from The Poultry Site.

Complete Control Over Mineral Supply Safeguards the Quality of Amlan International Products

Infographic advertising Amlan’s 80-plus year mineral science expertise and their company values.

As the animal health business of Oil-Dri® Corporation of America, Amlan International’s scientifically proven products are backed by Oil-Dri’s 80+ years of experience in mineral science. Amlan has access to the hundreds of millions of tons of mineral reserves that Oil-Dri, based and operating in the USA, selectively mines, processes and sells in a diverse range of industries throughout the world. Vertical integration allows Oil-Dri and Amlan to own every step of the production process and consistently deliver reliable non-medicated solutions to support animal protein producers around the world as they look to optimize animal health and production economics.

Safe Thermal Processing

The single-source raw material used in Amlan products is an all-natural mineral ingredient that contains high-capacity opal-CT lepispheres. This mineral is selected because its properties allow for thermal processing that is specifically talilored for each product. Thermal processing ensures the minerals’ structural integrity and optimizes the products’ broad utility, ultimately helping producers achieve normal animal health and meet their production goals.  

Independent Assessments for Regulatory Requirements

Each quarter, all Amlan product lots are assessed by an independent laboratory to ensure they comply with  regulatory requirements. These analyses ensure the mineral is below any established regulatory levels for dioxins (PCDD/F+PCB) and heavy metals (lead, cadmium, arsenic and mercury) in feed or food. This report is available upon request by contacting info@amlan.com. For both performance and safety, Amlan also performs extensive core drilling analyses of their raw material and selectively mines the highest quality raw materials for use in their products.

High-Quality Manufacturing Standards

All Amlan products are made to the highest industry standards for non-medicated feed additives to ensure their safety and consistent performance. Amlan’s quality systems are audited and certified annually by independent parties to demonstrate compliance.

Approved Feed Ingredients Only

Amlan’s feed additives only use ingredients that are approved for use in feed products by major regulatory bodies such as the U.S. FDA or the EU. This helps to secure the safety of the animal and, as Amlan’s products are developed for protein-producing animals, ensures end consumers are safe too. Amlan is proud to carry the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) seal of approval on many of its products. OMRI Listed® products are approved for use in certified organic operations under the USDA National Organic Program.

High-Quality, Safe Products Are Paramount

Along with following ISO-9001 standards and a certified HACCP system, Amlan is also a certified International Safe Feed/Safe Food plant. This voluntary and independently certified program designed for the total feed industry establishes comprehensive standards of excellence that go beyond existing regulations to maximize food and feed safety. This certification assures customers that Amlan’s products are safe, healthy, trustworthy feed solutions. For all applicable products and production facilities, Amlan also meets the requirements set forth by FAMI/QS — a certification created exclusively for specialty feed ingredients and their mixtures. Many countries require the FAMI/QS certification to sell market specialty feed ingredients within their borders.

Mineral Technology Is the Amlan Difference

Amlan’s proprietary mineral technology is the foundation of their innovative products. In fact, multiple governments, including the United States, the European Union, China, Korea and Indonesia have recognized the unique mineral-based technology within Amlan’s products Varium® and NeoPrime® and have issued a patent for the products’ modes of action.

By leveraging their owned, unique mineral technology and committing to the highest quality standards, Amlan develops innovative and reliable natural, mineral-based feed additive solutions for poultry and livestock. To learn more about Amlan’s products, visit https://amlan.com/products/.

Scientific Expertise and a State-of-the-Art Facility: The Foundation for Developing Amlan’s Natural and Efficacious Products

Still image from INNOVATION NATION interview with Dr. Hongyu Xue MD, PhD, at Research Laboratory.

With cutting-edge equipment and state-of-the-art facilities, Amlan’s talented Life Sciences team creates value-adding mineral-based products for poultry and livestock producers. The Richard M. Jaffee Center for Applied Microbiology houses the specialized equipment used by the Life Sciences team who draw upon their extensive research experience and knowledge base to create novel, natural solutions that improve poultry and livestock health and production efficiency.

Life Science Experts

The Amlan research team is led by Life Sciences Director Hongyu Xue MD, PhD, an experienced scientist in clinical and animal nutrition, who brings a unique point of view to Amlan’s research by leveraging his expertise in human medicine. Dr. Xue has a background in academic medicine and research that cross-links gastroenterology, immunology, microbiology and nutrition. Working with Dr. Xue is a multi-disciplinary team of scientists with expertise across microbiology, animal nutrition, chemistry and material science areas. Several members of the Life Sciences team were recently featured on an episode of “Built in America: INNOVATION NATION” on the Fox Business Network, where they showcased some of their novel research.

Cutting-Edge Equipment

The state-of-the-art equipment in the Richard M. Jaffee Center for Applied Microbiology allows the Life Sciences experts to use a variety of research techniques to develop and assess new mineral-based products for the animal health market.

The Life Sciences team enhances Amlan’s unique mineral to develop natural solutions that can control the microbial pathogens that negatively impact the health and productivity of poultry and livestock. To do this, the scientists study these pathogens and their toxins to understand their physiology and mode of action. Some pathogens require anerobic conditions to survive, so these pathogens are cultivated in Amlan’s anerobic chamber — a more efficient and robust method than alternative techniques such as anerobic jar or pouch systems.   

Conditions within the chamber can perfectly mimic the anerobic environment of the distal gastrointestinal (GI) tract (e.g., ileum and cecum) which serves as the primary colonization site for a vast variety of common microbial pathogens for poultry and livestock. The anaerobic chamber is of tremendous value to help Amlan’s scientists cultivate and further characterize the target pathogens and select commensal microbial populations colonizing the distal GI tract. Further, the chamber also enables the scientists to screen novel products in development and evaluate their antimicrobial effects for certain anaerobic pathogens. Novel strains of beneficial bacteria (probiotics) can also be isolated, grown and tested in the anerobic chamber. The photo below shows an example of the zone of inhibition surrounding an Amlan-developed probiotic (right) versus a water control (left).

Close-up of petri dish.

Further assessment of the new products can be conducted using equipment such as an ICP-OES (inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometer) that allows the team to examine how different cations released by Amlan’s unique mineral affects bacterial virulence. Some metals (cations) are known to suppress the expression of virulence genes in bacterial pathogens.

The lab also includes a fluorescent microscope that enables microbes to be observed instantly to see a product’s effect on bacterial morphology and viability.

Using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), the Life Sciences team have developed methods to detect toxin genes from microbial pathogens that can have negative effects on poultry and livestock production. Using this information, natural solutions can be developed that disarm these pathogens and help protect birds and animals from disease. For example, real-time PCR is used to investigate the effects of new products on pathogen virulence gene expression. Further, this technology can help determine the copy numbers of specific virulence genes and help make an early diagnosis of specific enteric diseases in poultry and livestock.

The Richard M. Jaffee Center for Applied Microbiology is named after the former chairman of Oil-Dri Corporation of America, doing business as Amlan International. Jaffee’s pioneering spirit and vision for Oil-Dri to conduct research in the life sciences is the influence behind Amlan’s focus on developing value-added next-generation animal health products.

To learn more about the research behind Amlan’s natural and efficacious products, visit https://amlan.com/blog/category/research-studies/.

An Antivirulence Approach to Controlling Bacteria: AGP Alternatives in Development at the Richard M. Jaffee Center for Applied Microbiology

Computer generated illustration of bacteria

The rise of multi-drug-resistant and mutant bacteria, which don’t respond to antibiotic treatment, is a concerning trend across the world. With the use of antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) restricted in an increasing number of countries, livestock and poultry industries are looking for antibiotic-free alternatives that keep animals and birds healthy and productive. Amlan International’s Richard M. Jaffee Center for Applied Microbiology is developing industry-leading technology that helps livestock and poultry producers achieve peak antibiotic-free-performance.

Discovering new methods to combat the prevalence of resistant and mutant pathogens is just one of the topics scientists at the Richard M. Jaffee Center for Applied Microbiology are investigating. The research team at Amlan’s new state-of-the-art lab are using an antivirulence approach to control pathogens, which has also been a research focus for developing new antimicrobial drugs for humans.

Novel Alternative to Antibiotics

Unlike conventional antibiotics, antivirulence approach targets bacterial virulence factors and is aimed at disarming pathogens and modifying their behaviors by making them less harmful (less virulent) to the host. The likelihood for multi-drug-resistant and mutant bacteria is much less using this approach.

There are many options for controlling pathogens using an antivirulence approach. These antivirulence targets include:

  • Toxins
  • Secretion systems
  • Quorum sensing
  • Host-pathogen signaling
  • Adhesins
  • Biofilm formation
  • Siderophores
  • Immune evasion

Previous research at Amlan International showed exciting promise in the quorum sensing area. The Richard M. Jaffee Center for Applied Microbiology continues to conduct quorum sensing research as one component of the overall antivirulence approach to improving livestock and poultry health and production.

Bacteria Can Communicate

Quorum sensing is a communication system between bacterial cells that allows bacteria to regulate their activity in response to stimuli. This communication system involves bacteria releasing biochemicals into the environment which accumulate in the surrounding area until reaching a critical threshold concentration1. The biochemicals then bind to receptors on the bacteria, signaling gene expression.

Quorum sensing can control many functions in bacteria2 including:

  • Bacterial population
  • Virulent gene expression
  • Bioluminescence
  • Pigment generation
  • Bacterial swarming
  • Biofilm formation

Quorum Quenching Silences Bacteria

Quorum quenching is an approach which can disrupt the quorum sensing system of pathogenic bacteria, preventing cell-to-cell communication and the expression of virulence genes that could lead to their infection in the host. Quorum quenching products should reduce the chance of antibiotic resistance, since they are modifying bacteria behavior rather than killing them.

Calibrin®-Z Disrupts Quorum Sensing

Evidence of quorum quenching by Amlan’s Calibrin®‑Z biotoxin control product was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The research team at the Richard M. Jaffee Center for Applied Microbiology are continuing to build on these positive results and further quorum sensing research.

The previous study illustrated that in vitro, quorum sensing molecules can be separated out by adsorption or catalytically broken down into small fragments by Calibrin-Z. By reducing the concentration of quorum sensing biochemicals, the products can potentially disrupt the ability of pathogenic bacteria to produce toxins or reduce their virulence, since these functions are controlled through quorum sensing. 

Additionally, due to their stronger acidity, greater pore volume and greater surface area, in the same study Calibrin-Z performed better then silica, illite and kaolinite as catalysts/adsorbents in quorum sensing molecule removal.

When incubated with Vibrio harveyi, a bacterium that exhibits bioluminescence controlled via quorum signaling, Calibrin-Z reduced bacterial luminescence by 55% (from the area under the curve; Figure 1). While this demonstrated that interference in quorum sensing occurred, the bacterial numbers were not impacted, indicating the reduction in bioluminescence was achieved through quorum quenching and not by killing bacteria.

Bacterial luminescence graph.

Figure 1: Bacterial luminescence from a Vibrio harveyi culture treated with different concentrations of Calibrin-Z. Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) was used as a non-luminescent negative control. At 10 mg/mL, Calibrin-Z reduced bacterial luminescence by 55% (area under the curve).

Quorum sensing is just one of the virulence factors being investigated by the research team at the Richard M. Jaffee Center for Applied Microbiology. Similarly, the antivirulence approach is just one of the next-gen technologies that is being developed in the lab to maximize livestock and poultry producer’s profits by improving the health and productivity of their flock or herd.

Stay tuned for more information about the innovative research conducted inside the Richard M. Jaffee Center for Applied Microbiology.

References

  1. Naik, S.P., Scholin, J., Ching, S., Chi, F. and Herpfer, M. (2018). Quorum Sensing Disruption in Vibrio harveyi Bacteria by Clay Materials. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 66 (1), 40-44. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.7b03918
  2. Williams, P. (2007) Quorum Sensing, Communication and Cross Kingdom Signalling in the Bacterial World. Microbiology, 153 (12), 3923−3938. DOI: 10.1099/mic.0.2007/012856-0
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