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Calibrin®-Z Excels in Broiler Study Comparing Mycotoxin-Targeting Feed Additives

Calibrin®-Z logo and poultry farm infographic.

Mycotoxin-contaminated feed is a constant challenge for poultry producers, made worse if environmental conditions favor the rapid growth of mycotoxin-producing fungi in the field or during storage. And if multiple mycotoxins have contaminated the feed, it can create a synergistic, or additive, effect, amplifying each mycotoxin’s negative outcome on poultry production.

Calibrin®-Z Binds Multiple Mycotoxins and More

Mitigating the effects of mycotoxin-contaminated feed is essential, because whether the effects on poultry are mild (due to long-term low-level exposure) or severe (from a high-level challenge), a decrease in performance (and profits) is usually inevitable. To diminish the effects of mycotoxicosis, poultry diets often include feed additives that target mycotoxins. Examples of these feed additives include Calibrin®-Z (our mineral-based biotoxin binder), yeast cell wall preparations, enzyme-based products and algae-based additives.

Unlike other mineral-based products, Calibrin-Z undergoes specifically tailored, proprietary thermal processing that promotes the binding of a broad spectrum of biotoxins, including polar and nonpolar mycotoxins. Calibrin-Z also binds bacterial exotoxins and endotoxins, such as those produced by Clostridium perfringens and Escherichia coli, to help combat enteric disease.

University of Missouri Study Compares Feed Additive Performance

To evaluate the performance of products marketed to mitigate mycotoxin-contaminated feed, researchers at the University of Missouri (Columbia, MO) evaluated the ability of commercial feed additives to reduce the combined toxic effects of concurrent aflatoxin B1 and fumonisin B1 exposure in poultry. In the 21-day feeding trial, 144 broiler chicks were randomly assigned to six treatment groups with 24 birds in each group (Table 1). Statistical significance for treatment comparisons was set at P < 0.10.

Table 1. Dietary Treatments by Group

Calibrin®-Z Aflatoxin B1, Fumonisin B1 and feed additive chart.

Similar Body Weight Gain for Calibrin-Z and Unchallenged Control Birds

The results showed that as expected, mycotoxin-contaminated feed significantly reduced broiler weight gain (Figure 1). However, Calibrin-Z was able to mitigate this performance loss. Birds fed the mycotoxin-challenged diet and Calibrin‑Z recorded statistically similar body weight gain as the non-challenged control birds (P = 0.35). This performance recovery was not seen to the same extent in challenged birds receiving the algae-, enzyme- or yeast cell wall‑based products, as birds from these groups gained significantly less weight than the non-challenged control group birds (P < 0.10). The weight gain of Calibrin-Z-supplemented birds was also 6 percent greater than the weight gain of enzyme-supplemented birds, 11 percent greater than the yeast cell wall group and 19 percent greater than the algae-based product group.

Calibrin®-Z body weight gain chart.
Different letters indicate a significant difference between groups (P < 0.10). Figure 1. Body weight gain of birds fed a diet containing two mycotoxins plus Calibrin-Z was statistically similar to that of birds receiving a diet free of mycotoxins.

Calibrin-Z Numerically Improved Feed Conversion

Feeding Calibrin-Z to mycotoxin-challenged broilers improved feed conversion by up to 10 points compared to diets supplemented with enzyme, yeast cell wall or algae-based products (Figure 2).  While not a statistical difference in this trial, these results represent a significant numerical difference in broiler production.

Calibrin®-Z feed conversion ratio chart.
Figure 2. All groups had statistically similar feed conversion, with Calibrin-Z numerically improving feed conversion compared to all groups except the unchallenged control.

This study showed that adding Calibrin-Z to aflatoxin- and fumonisin-contaminated feed enabled broiler chickens to maintain weight gain and feed conversion similar to birds fed a mycotoxin-free diet. The other commercial products did not improve bird performance to the same extent as Calibrin-Z in this study, demonstrating the production advantage Calibrin-Z delivers by binding multiple biotoxins and improving intestinal tract health. For more information on this study, or on the health and productivity benefits of adding Calibrin‑Z to your birds’ rations, contact us.

Varium® Rivals Zinc Bacitracin in Maintaining Broiler Intestinal Health

Varium® logo with broilers in the background.

In some countries, the use of zinc bacitracin as an antibiotic growth promoter (AGP) in poultry is restricted due to concern over the increase in multi-drug-resistant bacteria that do not respond to traditional antibiotic treatments. Restrictions in the use of AGPs in animal feeds like zinc bacitracin has spurred the development of natural AGP alternatives that keep birds healthy and growing efficiently.

Natural Performance Promotion

Varium® is a patented natural mineral-based feed additive that promotes efficiency and productivity in poultry. Unlike antibiotics that kill bacteria, the patented technology in Varium includes a synergistic formulation of ingredients that binds pathogenic bacteria and their toxins, provides an energy source for the growth of healthy and strong enterocytes and gently stimulates immunity cells. With multiple modes of action, Varium adds value for producers by replacing the need for multiple feed additives; it can provide the same benefits in one product thereby simplifying diet formulations and reducing costs.

Comparing Varium with Zinc Bacitracin

To demonstrate its effectiveness, Varium was directly compared to zinc bacitracin in a broiler study conducted by a university in Pakistan. In the trial, 180 Ross 308 chicks (10 chicks per pen, 6 pens per treatment) were randomly allocated to one of three treatment groups: control (0.01% zinc bacitracin), Varium 0.1 (0.1%) or Varium 0.15 (0.15%). The broilers were raised under normal production conditions, with the trial ending on day 35. Newcastle disease vaccine was administered to all birds on day 6 (intraocular and subcutaneous) and a booster (oral) was administered on day 21. Newcastle disease titers were measured on days 20 and 35 from 18 birds per treatment. Three birds per pen (18 total per treatment), randomly selected on day 35, and had small intestine morphology and bacterial counts in the small intestine and digesta measured.

Varium Protects Intestinal Health

The study showed that Varium was able to protect intestinal morphology better than zinc bacitracin. In Varium-fed broilers, a significant dose-response effect was observed for intestinal (jejunum) villus height and villi index (villus height to crypt depth) on day 35, with all Varium treatments significantly higher than the zinc bacitracin control (Figure 1). A similar dose response was observed with intestinal (jejunum) crypt depth; all Varium treatments were significantly lower than the control, and Varium 0.15 was significantly lower than Varium 0.1 (Figure 1).

Villus Height, Villi Index, Crypt Depth of broilers information.
Figure 1: Villus height, villi index and crypt depth of broilers fed either 0.01% zinc bacitracin (control) or Varium at 0.1 or 0.15%. Varium demonstrated a dose-response effect that indicated better ability to protect intestinal morphology than zinc bacitracin.

 

Varium was also able to protect the birds from necrotic enteritis to the same extent as zinc bacitracin. Necrotic enteritis was not found among any of the sampled birds on day 35. Lesion scores (0 to 4 scale) for the entire length of the small intestine were not different between treatments; however, Varium 0.1 had a better effect on intestinal elasticity than the other treatments.

Beneficial Bacteria Increase with Varium

Varium was able to promote colonization of beneficial bacteria while decreasing the population of pathogenic bacteria. Varium 0.1 had significantly more beneficial Lactobacilli than zinc bacitracin and Varium 0.15 had significantly more than all treatments (Figure 2). All Varium treatments decreased the population of Salmonella in the small intestine and digesta compared to zinc bacitracin (Figure 3).

Lactobacilli colonization of the small intestine and digesta information.
Figure 2: Lactobacilli colonization of the small intestine and digesta was improved when the broiler diet was supplemented with Varium.
Salmonella colonization of the small intestine and digesta information.
Figure 3: Salmonella colonization of the small intestine and digesta was significantly reduced when the broiler diet was supplemented with Varium.

A Better Immune Response

Varium also improved the immune response to vaccination. On day 20 and 35, Newcastle disease antibody titer (hemagglutination inhibition test) was significantly higher in all Varium treatments compared to zinc bacitracin. Previous research (contact Amlan for more details, info@amlan.com) has shown that feeding Varium during disease challenge can restore the expression of immune cells that are responsible for stimulation of an antigen-specific immune response and also increase phagocytic activity compared to the control group. This increased immune response, as well as the removal of bacterial toxins that can cause immunosuppression, are thought to be the reasons behind the increase in Newcastle disease antibody titers observed in the present study.

This study confirmed that Varium can be as effective as zinc bacitracin in promoting intestinal health. The doses of Varium at 0.1 and 0.15% performed equal to or better than zinc bacitracin for the parameters tested. For more information on how Varium can improve health, production efficiency and value, visit the Varium product page.

Pathogen Control Options for Antibiotic-Free Poultry Production

NeutraPath® Logo and Poultry Farm Info Graphic | Amlan International

Antibiotic-free (ABF) poultry production has its benefits — it increases market opportunities for producers and, perhaps more importantly, it helps reduce the emergence of antimicrobial resistant pathogens. But ABF production also brings with it a new set of challenges. One of the biggest is how to control the pathogens that reduce flock health and production efficiency, now that subtherapeutic levels of antibiotics can’t be used.

Stopping pathogens from entering the poultry house in the first place goes a long way in controlling disease outbreaks. But most pathogenic agents associated with common enteric poultry diseases are ubiquitous in the environment, meaning their management focuses more on control than eradication. In this post we discuss the importance of biosecurity and environmental management in controlling pathogens in ABF production systems. We also present data on NeutraPath®, a natural feed additive available in select international markets that has multiple modes of action against enteric pathogens.

Prevent Diseases Spreading

People are the biggest risk factor for introducing pathogens into a flock. For this reason, limiting visitors and wearing personal protective equipment in the barn are typically standard practices in poultry facilities. People traveling to the farm should also disinfect their shoes and vehicle floorboards when arriving and leaving the facility. Keeping rodents and insects out of the barn and preventing wild birds from contaminating open water sources are other key control points for effective biosecurity.

Create an Uninviting Environment for Pathogens

Water in the poultry barn can easily become a vector for microbial contamination. The nutrient-rich water lines and the warm environment of the poultry house are ideal growing conditions for bacteria and other pathogens. Therefore, water lines should be flushed regularly and cleaned between flocks, and water storage tanks routinely cleaned to prevent microbial growth.

Managing moisture and ammonia levels in poultry litter is also critical for reducing disease challenges and keeping birds healthy. This includes supplying adequate ventilation and regularly checking for water line leaks. Dry litter lessens the risk of disease, reduces morbidity and condemnations, and helps ammonia stay at acceptable levels. Windrowing the litter between flocks can help reduce the pathogen load because it heats the litter and allows the surrounding floor to dry out. Wet droppings due to poor intestinal health also increase moisture and ammonia in litter, which is another reason why supporting optimal intestinal health in birds is vital to production success.

NeutraPath®: A Natural Pathogen Control Product

As well as making the environmental conditions less favorable for pathogen growth, targeting the pathogens themselves is a key part of preventing enteric disease outbreaks in poultry. Traditionally, this was achieved by administering subtherapeutic levels of antibiotics, but natural, non-antibiotic products are now available for use in antibiotic-free production systems.

NeutraPath uses multiple modes of action to increase livability and improve feed conversion in antibiotic-free poultry. Using a proprietary and coactive blend of essential oils, fatty acids and Amlan’s proprietary mineral technology, NeutraPath reduces pathogenic bacterial load and colonization, and improves intestinal health and structural integrity, all of which contribute to improved performance and increased production yields.

The ability of NeutraPath to control pathogens has been proven in multiple studies, including in research published in Poultry Science. In the Poultry Science study, NeutraPath exhibited a potent antimicrobial effect against Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium strain PHL2020 and reduced its intestinal colonization. In another study, NeutraPath reduced ileal Clostridium perfringens populations compared to the challenged control (Figure 1). Feed conversion ratio and weight gain results ensued that were similar between NeutraPath and an in-feed antibiotic (BMD) and were significantly better than the challenged control (Figure 2).

NeutraPath® Reduced Necrotic Enteritis in Broilers Infographic | Amlan International
Figure 1: Ileal C. perfringens populations. 224 total birds. Source: Southern Poultry Research, Inc. Athens, GA.

NeutraPath® Day 0-28 Feed Conversion Ratio Infographic | Amlan International

NeutraPath® Day 0-28 Weight Gain Infographic | Amlan International
Figures 2 – 3: Feed conversion ratio and weight gain of necrotic enteritis-challenged broilers. 224 total birds. Source: Southern Poultry Research, Inc. Athens, GA.

 

NeutraPath doesn’t just perform under pathogen-challenged conditions, however. In a side-by-side commercial broiler house study for an integrated broiler producer in the southern United States (54,000 birds per house), NeutraPath performed better across all parameters measured, including a 0.56 percent increase in livability (Table 1).

NeutraPath® Improved Commercial Broiler Performance Infographic | Amlan International
Table 1: Comparative results of NeutraPath vs. control in a commercial broiler study.

Creating unfavorable environmental conditions for pathogens can help reduce enteric disease outbreaks in poultry. To further control pathogens, NeutraPath can be incorporated into rations to strengthen intestinal health and reduce the intestinal pathogen load. For more information on NeutraPath or to set up your own NeutraPath trial, contact info@amlan.com.

NeutraPath®: Natural Pathogen Control Using Feed Ingredient Synergy

NeutraPath Biology with Swine

The control of pathogens and disease is a recurring challenge for livestock and poultry producers, whether they use conventional or antibiotic-free production systems. Amlan is tackling the challenge of disease prevention with the development of a natural feed additive that combines multiple feed ingredients that help reduce bacterial pathogens and their toxins. NeutraPath®, a natural feed additive for all species, reduces the pathogenic bacterial load and colonization, while also improving intestinal health and structural integrity, all of which contribute to improved bird performance and production economics.

NeutraPath (available in select international markets) features a unique blend of essential oils, fatty acids and Amlan’s proprietary mineral technology. The product’s potent antibacterial formula was engineered to neutralize bacterial toxins, destabilize bacterial cell membranes and disrupt cell-to-cell communication between pathogenic bacteria, all while also improving intestinal health.

NeutraPath has been shown in various studies to have antibacterial properties against a variety of gram-negative and gram-positive bacterial pathogens. By reducing pathogenic bacterial intestinal colonization, NeutraPath improved feed conversion and intestinal health and reduced bacterial diarrhea, necrotic enteritis lesions, and mortality. Here we present a summary of some of the NeutraPath research, including data published in peer reviewed journals or presented at international scientific meetings. Contact info@amlan.com for more details of these studies.

Dual Effects: Disarming Pathogens and Reducing Their Prevalence
The antibacterial activity of NeutraPath against a variety of production-limiting pathogen species was demonstrated in both poultry and swine studies. In various broiler studies, birds challenged with either Salmonella enterica serovar Heidelberg, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium or Clostridium perfringens had decreased prevalence and bacterial load of the pathogen in the ceca, cecal tonsils, cecal contents or cloacal swabs compared with the challenged control. There was also a fourfold reduction of alpha-toxin levels in the cecal contents of broilers challenged with C. perfringens compared with the challenged control (Figure 1).

Alpha-toxin levels info graphic.
Figure 1: Alpha-toxin levels in the cecal contents of broilers challenged with C. perfringens. Source: Southern Poultry Research, Inc., Athens, GA. 128 total birds.

In swine orally inoculated with F18+ enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), feeding NeutraPath reduced the frequency of diarrhea, indicating a greater resistance to disease (He et al., 2022). Changes in the fecal microbiome and ileal mucosa microbiota composition suggested NeutraPath also helps maintain a desirable balance in the intestinal microbial ecosystem.

Collectively, these studies indicate that NeutraPath can selectively modulate gut microbiota homeostasis via exerting potent antibacterial effects against enteric pathogenic bacteria while preserving or promoting beneficial bacteria.

Healthier Swine and Poultry
The antibacterial effects of NeutraPath promote positive health benefits for poultry and swine. In broilers challenged with C. perfringens-induced necrotic enteritis in combination with Eimeria maxima infection, NeutraPath improved livability and necrotic enteritis-related lesion scores compared with challenged control birds (Figure 2). Additionally, using antibiotics instead of NeutraPath produced similar mortality rates and lesion scores as NeutraPath.

Mortality rates info graphic.
Lesion scores info graphic.
Figures 2 and 3: Necrotic enteritis-caused mortality rates and lesion scores in broilers. 240 total birds. Source: Southern Poultry Research, Inc. Athens, GA.

The data from the broiler studies indicate that NeutraPath can be used to help manage C. perfringens-induced necrotic enteritis in broilers. As mentioned earlier, NeutraPath was also shown to decrease the incidence of severe diarrhea in weaned pigs challenged with Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC).

Enhanced Production Performance
NeutraPath was also able to improve production parameters in poultry and swine. In a summary of four similarly designed broiler studies that experimentally induced necrotic enteritis, NeutraPath showed better performance than the challenged control group and performed similarly to antibiotic-treated birds (Table 1). The results of these studies show that NeutraPath was comparable to an antibiotic in improving performance of broilers challenged with necrotic enteritis.

Necrotic Enteritis-challenged broiler performance info graphic.
Table 1: Comparison of necrotic enteritis-challenged broiler performance. Source: Southern Poultry Research Inc., Athens, GA. Birds were challenged with C. perfringens at 2 weeks of age and grown to day 28.

In the swine ETEC challenge study, compared to the control, pigs fed NeutraPath demonstrated improved growth during the last two weeks of the study with improvements in feed efficiency during days 14 to 21 post-inoculation. These studies demonstrate that NeutraPath can enhance growth performance in broilers and swine challenged with production limiting pathogens.

In these studies, the synergism of NeutraPath ingredients worked well to reduce pathogenic bacterial colonization, improve health parameters and enhance production performance in swine and poultry. For more information on NeutraPath or to set up your own NeutraPath trial, contact info@amlan.com.

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.

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

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

Amlan Highlights No Antibiotics Ever Strategy In “Innovation Nation” Episode

Terrence O'Keefe, content director at WATT Global Media | Amlan International

Many consumers worldwide believe moving to a no antibiotics ever program is a responsible way to safeguard food production and meet food security goals around the world.

To meet this growing segment of consumer demand, many poultry producers have begun looking for the right products to help shift their flocks to a no antibiotics ever program without health and production setbacks.

It was also one of the important themes discussed in the episode of “Built in America: INNOVATION NATION” on the Fox Business Network on August 30, 2020, that featured Amlan International. During that episode, viewers saw the mountains of research Amlan does to find these new mineral and animal health solutions for livestock producers.

Terrence O’Keefe, content director at WATT Global Media, was featured on the episode to share how this trend is being achieved at the farm level. The media company has provided extensive coverage on this topic to communicate the changes that consumers are starting to ask of the global livestock industry.

“One of the approaches of no antibiotics ever production that has shown some success for a lot of companies is using a combination of additives in the diet,” O’Keefe says. “It could be enzymes to allow the bird to more thoroughly digest the ration; it could include also a prebiotic or a probiotic.”

A prebiotic is a compound that helps feed the good bacteria and then you seed the bird with good bacteria by giving them the probiotic, O’Keefe says.

“Not all products are the same, so it’s important that producers test them,” he adds. “They are all safe, but how effective that mixture is going to be depends on the individual complex.”

It’s About Balanced Nutrition

Finding the right mixture of products is a challenge that takes a lot of time, money and research. Working with a team of animal health experts and nutritionists is key.

“There are many positive strategies out there to achieve less use of antibiotics in poultry production. We see this a growing segment for Amlan and one where we can provide leadership to help producers make changes in their operation that positively improve their operations and the health of their flocks,” says Flemming Mahs, President of Amlan International. “Producers tell us that they have seen positive results in challenge reduction and improved feed efficiency with these strategies.”

It’s also one of the reasons Amlan has invested considerable time and resources to create Varium®, a performance feed additive helping producers achieve healthier poultry production without the use of antibiotics. While it is not a pre- or probiotic, Varium is a natural product that works to improve feed efficiency, leading to healthier flocks and can improve producer profits.

Watch the full episode to understand how Varium improves the animal’s gut health.

The TV episode also includes perspective from Dr. Glauber Sartori Maier, an animal nutritionist for Coasul, an agricultural cooperative with 9,000 associates in 28 cities in the southern part of Brazil. Coasul has standardized on Varium for more than a year in their poultry feeding regimen when they moved to antibiotic-free production. They were recently ranked #1 in feed efficiency by the top-rated company that provides accurate comparative user data to the livestock industry.

Click here to learn more about the changes they experienced after the transition.

For more information about the no antibiotics ever trend in poultry and strategies from Amlan to make the transition, explore this section of the Amlan International Education Center.

Brazilian Cooperative featured in “Innovation Nation” Episode

In educating consumers about the value and uses for natural mineral additives, Amlan is also focusing on ways to support integrators who are moving to antibiotic-free (ABF) production to meet consumer and regulatory demands.

In the August 30, 2020, episode of “Built in America: INNOVATION NATION” on the Fox Business Network, millions of viewers in the U.S. went behind the scenes at Amlan International to learn about the company’s extensive research into minerals and animal health. Through this research, Amlan’s patented products and mineral technologies aim to solve many problems in the livestock industry and more.

“We were incredibly honored to host the show and share how our products are part of the very diverse food supply chain to the public,” says Flemming L. Mahs, President of Amlan International. “We are proud of our extensive R&D team and are committed to creating a safe, nutritious food system.”

The show interviewed Amlan employees, industry leaders and walked through the many research laboratories at the Richard M. Jaffee Center for Applied Microbiology to understand what goes into their animal health product research. Watch the episode here.

In the episode, Dr. Glauber Sartori Maier, Animal Nutritionist for Coasul Cooperativa Agroindustrial, an agricultural cooperative with 9,000 associates in 28 cities in the southern part of Brazil, shared his company’s experiences incorporating Varium® as they moved to antibiotic-free poultry production.

Dr. Maier emphasizes the urgency of adopting innovative technology to produce enough quality food, at acceptable prices, for a growing world population. He says that Coasul exports nearly 30 million birds per year, which is about 60 percent of their total annual production. The company made adjustments to its production practices to accommodate global market demand for poultry raised without antibiotics.

“I have no doubt that antibiotic-free production will continue to grow in the world. It’s much easier to grow birds without the use of antibiotics to promote growth than producers realize,” Maier says.

When moving to ABF, Maier says it is important to make sure every other aspect of production is on point. Here are three areas that changed for Coasul:

  1. Gut health is the key starting point. Improving feed conversion and production efficiency allowed birds to grow to the same weight with less feed.
  2. Drier litter is also a result of improving gut health. Drier litter in chicken houses improves the health and quality of chicken feet, which is a very profitable, high-demand product in China.
  3. Healthy birds are calmer. In general, healthier animals are less likely to peck or scratch other birds, which helps ensure the highest standards of meat quality and skin.

“Many producers are afraid to stop using antibiotics because they believe the performance of the animals will decline and it will result in spending more money to produce the same quantity of meat. In our case, the results are better using Varium, and our costs are lower,” Maier says.

For more information about transitioning to AFP in poultry, read these other blogs from Amlan International:

Strategies for Producing Antibiotic-Free Poultry
Efficiently Raising Antibiotic-Free Broilers
Natural Growth Promoter for Poultry Demonstrates 10:1 ROI, Better Than Antibiotics Alone

Strategies for Producing Antibiotic-Free Poultry

Strategies for Producing Antibiotic-Free Poultry Infographic | Amlan International

As producing poultry meat that can be labelled antibiotic free (ABF) or No Antibiotics Ever (NAE) becomes more common and desirable, poultry producers are looking for ways to mitigate major poultry diseases in a safe, sustainable and profitable way.

At Amlan, we consult with poultry producers around the world. Those who are transitioning to ABF production are concerned about whether their breeder and grow-out operations can remain competitive, profitable and free from performance-robbing intestinal diseases such as necrotic enteritis. To be successful, a whole-production-system approach that factors in housing management, water quality and biosecurity is needed to maintain bird performance while managing profit margins.

Improved health of broilers starts with the breeder and hatchery

Since breeders can transfer intestinal microbes and immunity to their progeny, companies that are transitioning to ABF production are paying close attention to ensuring intestinal health is adequate in breeders and that vaccination programs are effective. Effective management means watching cross-contamination from the breeder program to the broiler program, including ensuring the hatched eggs are clean and not creating cross-contamination issues by fogging and cleaning too much.

Good litter management is another housing practice to not only get chicks off to a good start, but also to reduce disease challenges. Management practices will vary depending on many factors. In general, cleaning out hatcheries once per year is a good practice. Litter amendments can be used to reduce ammonia and bacterial challenges in-between clean-outs. We also find that removal of caked/wet litter along with windrowing or composting litter is beneficial between flocks.

Improve house environment and biosecurity

Proper environmental conditions are the foundations of effective ABF poultry production and can help cut down on disease issues. Environmental stress due to heat, cold, or very dry or very humid air can affect feed intake and intestinal motility, causing reduced digestibility. We recommend that producers ensure optimum temperature, air velocity and relative humidity according to the age, phase of production and size of the birds.

A large-scale poultry producer with which we have discussed ABF practices emphasizes downtime between flocks, whether or not it’s an ABF system. This producer recommends 14 days of rest before putting another flock in. Then, effective flock management helps reduce stress and disease. Reducing the density of the flock gives the birds more room and greater air circulation, which results in less litter moisture — all leading to lowered challenge. Further, good house ventilation is key for ABF programs to maintain litter moisture below 30 percent, and to minimize condensation and caking.

The most efficient production facilities also focus on nutrient uptake management. While controlling intestinal diseases is important, focusing on nutrient absorption is equally important. Inadequate nutrient absorption contributes to the severity of many diseases. Appropriate feed digestibility is key to broilers’ overall health and can help control microbes and resultant diseases.

The best biosecurity practices include bio-exclusion — limiting visitors, vehicles and equipment that visit other poultry farms. Also, implement bio-containment practices, such as isolating the houses and controlling the entry of insects, rodents, and wild birds and other animals to the houses. These are some of the practices that can help prevent the introduction of new infections in flocks. In a future Amlan blog post, we will deliver more details on these practices.

Feed and water management

Nutritionists know that a balanced diet and sufficient water consumption are essential to improve digestibility. For best results, producers tend to use high-quality feed and minimize drastic changes to the feed program (changing from corn to wheat, for example) within a generation of broilers. Some poultry operations recommend feeding larger and coarser particle sizes (800 to 1,000-micron grind size) while avoiding powdery or fine-textured feeds results in better enzyme release in the gut.

We’ve found that it’s also important to formulate the feed on a digestible amino acid basis and reduce crude protein levels to prevent an overload of Clostridium in the lower gut and the incidence of necrotic enteritis. Producers should also consider supplementing feed with exogenous enzymes and, to further strengthen their effect, additives such as phytases and xylanases.

Other producers say that, if allowed, adding animal protein meal to the diet helps lower costs and reduce excess potassium. They also provide a good mineral source and promote a better amino acid balance. If you go that route, poultry by-product meal, feather meal and poultry fat are good feed ingredients.

Finally, good water quality and management is critical. Adding acidified copper sulfate and hydrogen peroxide to the drinking water during challenging times, such as during the necrotic window, is also recommended.

Maintaining gut health and minimizing intestinal disruptions are key

Preventing coccidiosis and necrotic enteritis are normally the main concerns during ABF production. Without antibiotics and even ionophores, it’s more of a challenge to keep these diseases under control.

At Amlan, we talk a lot about the important role that the gut flora plays in supporting disease management and enhancing the immune system. In addition to a balanced diet and good housing conditions as described earlier, feed additives and minerals can help maintain a healthy microflora in all gut regions.

Certain formulated feed additives are designed to use different and (ideally) synergistic modes of action to achieve desired responses. These products are typically tested by a team of specialists to determine the optimal formulation, so growers don’t have to experiment. They include prebiotics, probiotics, enzymes, organic acids, minerals and other additives that can be used successfully to manage gut health instead of AGPs. Formulated feed additives that combine the right ingredients to replace one or more other additives and help birds grow efficiently are just what today’s broiler producers need.

Varium® is a patented feed additive used across the word in antibiotic-free poultry production to achieve similar outcomes as AGPs, often replacing one or more additional feed additives being used as alternatives to AGPs. Varium’s performance has been observed in multiple controlled studies and field trials and is helping commercial producers improve production efficiencies by improving feed conversion and weight gain and decreasing mortality.

It takes the right combination of best management practices to achieve a productive and profitable ABF poultry facility. We’re here to help provide you with the knowledge and technology to make a difference in your operation. Download a helpful, printable guide that summarizes the above best practices here, and check Amlan’s Education Center frequently for future posts on best production practices and natural feed additive programs that enhance intestinal health and improve efficiency in ABF poultry production.

 

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