Currently Viewing Posts Tagged antibiotic-free

Binding Bacterial and Fungal Toxins

Calibrin-Z logo with chickens in background.

Source: Poultry World, February 25, 2022

One of the biggest challenges for the poultry industry, especially after the removal of in-feed antibiotics, is bacterial enteritis, and in particular, necrotic enteritis caused by pathogenic Clostridium perfringens. Add production losses associated with mycotoxin-contaminated feed, and you have two industry challenges that need a natural control solution.

Calibrin-Z from Amlan International provides natural protection against field challenges, optimizing animal performance and boosting your bottom line. It is a highly efficacious, mineral-based feed additive that adsorbs a broad spectrum of bacterial toxins and mycotoxins in the intestinal tract of chickens. Unlike comparable products, Calibrin-Z binds both polar and nonpolar mycotoxins as well as bacterial toxins like alpha-toxin and NetB toxin that are produced by C. perfringens.

Read more here.

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Global Perspectives on Feed Additive Technologies

FeedStuffs interview with Amlan logo graphic.

Source: Sarah Muirhead, Feedstuffs 365, January 26, 2022

During IPPE 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia, Sarah Muirhead from Feedstuffs 365 spoke with Amlan leadership about global poultry production trends and the background of Amlan’s natural mineral-based products. During the discussion, Dan Jaffee, President and CEO, Oil-Dri Corporation of America and President and General Manager of Amlan International, described the history of Amlan and the origin of the mineral that is the core of Amlan products.

Other discussion topics included global trends Fred Kao, VP of Global Sales, is observing in the poultry industry. Fred spoke about the increase in antibiotic-free poultry production in Brazil as producers adjust to new EU export requirements and the impact that African Swine Fever has had on poultry product demand in Asia.

Dr. Wade Robey, VP Global Marketing and Product Development, also detailed the benefits of two new Amlan products that were launched at IPPE (International products, not for sale in the US). One product is intended for application in antibiotic-free broiler production when pathogens are decreasing bird performance or when producers are trying to reduce pathogen levels entering the processing plant (NeutraPath®), and the other is a natural alternative to anticoccidial drugs and vaccines (Phylox®) for full time use or in a shuttle program when resistance to traditional coccidiostats is a concern.  Both products also have excellent application potential in broiler breeders which are often challenged with coccidiosis and which can be very sensitive to mycotoxins and bacterial pathogens during grow-out and egg production. 

Watch the interview here.

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/.

ABF Poultry Production Best Practice Series: Air Quality

An effective poultry house ventilation system is essential for keeping litter dry, ammonia levels low and creating an environment that promotes healthy and efficient birds. This also includes managing the temperature and humidity to keep birds near their thermoneutral zone which will help drive weight gain and maximize feed conversion. Here, we take a closer look at what our industry experts consider air quality best practices for antibiotic-free poultry producers, as part of our series on strategies for producing antibiotic-free poultry.

Achieve Low Moisture and Ammonia Levels

Removing moisture from the poultry house is key for birds that are healthy and performing at their potential. Maintaining air movement, with fresh air coming in and stale air moving out, helps keep the floors and litter dry. As mentioned in our previous post on house environment and biosecurity, dry litter reduces the risk of disease and helps ammonia stay at acceptable levels.

Monitoring ammonia levels is an important factor for protecting bird health. If ammonia levels are too high it can irritate the birds’ nasal passages, trachea and eyes and cause dermatitis in paws, leading to poor performance. To keep birds safe, electrochemical, colorimetric or dosimeter tubes are available to monitor ammonia levels. Products can also be added to the litter to help minimize ammonia concentration, but keeping the litter dry (e.g., no leaking water lines) and providing adequate air flow and ventilation are important first steps.

Wet droppings due to poor intestinal health can also contribute to increased moisture and ammonia levels in the litter. Preventing enteric diseases, such as coccidiosis and necrotic enteritis, can help reduce the occurrence of diarrhea or wet droppings. Enteric diseases were traditionally controlled by antibiotics, but with the increase in antibiotic free production, natural alternatives are now available that can help maintain intestinal health and integrity.  

Maintain Thermoneutral Zone

Birds should be kept near their thermoneutral zone so that they are not cold or heat stressed and are better able to cope with other stress, such as pathogens in the environment. Controlling air temperature and humidity in the house is a large task as not only does the weather impact them, the birds themselves put out their own BTU which contributes to the overall heat and moisture in the house. 

If available, controllers can program fans and heating systems to try to maintain the temperature and humidity within a set range for the birds’ age. However, parts of the ventilation system can break, so it’s important to regularly perform a manual check to ensure everything is functioning correctly.

While it is important to keep birds warm in winter, it is also important that enough fresh air is introduced into the house to keep ammonia and moisture levels low. Once the cold air enters the house, negative pressure should be used to warm the air, then exhaust it, thereby picking up moisture and helping to dry the floor. Producers should consider the most efficient way that this can be achieved in their system.

In hot weather, large fans at the end of the house can push air movement through the house at more than 500 feet/minute. This fast air speed creates a wind chill that can drop the “feels-like” temperature by at least 10 °F. Other methods to keep the birds cool include evaporative cooling cells and foggers which create a fine mist over the birds. These need to be maintained well to avoid creating wet areas in the house. The water used in these systems should be good quality to avoid mineral build-up in the lines causing damage and introducing pathogens to the birds. More information on water quality can be found in our water quality ABF best practices post.

Back-up generators and emergency plans are essential for protecting birds and the farm from disastrous consequences in a power outage. Without adequate ventilation and air movement, the environment inside the house can become dangerous very quickly, in both cold and hot conditions. Houses are usually sealed tight to ensure efficient heating/cooling, but this means that humidity and temperature can increase very quickly during power failure, as well as CO2 levels and water vapor from the birds.

Providing an optimum poultry house environment with adequate ventilation, the right temperature and humidity for the birds’ age and low contaminants in the air is key for maximizing bird performance. Amlan is dedicated to developing next-generation technology to help poultry producers keep birds healthy and maintain productivity for life. Check our Education Center for other posts in our ABF production best practices series.

ABF Poultry Production Best Practice Series: House Environment and Biosecurity

Antibiotic-free poultry sanitation and hygiene infographic.

All poultry farms should maintain effective house sanitation and biosecurity practices to produce healthy and productive birds, but this is even more important when the goal is antibiotic-free (ABF) production. Here, we take a closer look at what our industry experts consider as best practices for house environment when producing ABF broilers, as part of our series on strategies for producing antibiotic-free poultry.

A Healthy Start to Life

Producing healthy flocks begins at the hatchery. It is important that the chick is provided a clean environment right from the start, and this includes while it is still in the egg. The hatchery should be kept clean, disinfected often and there should be no contamination on the egg pack. If in ovo vaccination is used, sanitary conditions are crucial to keep infection and 7-day mortality rates low. Keeping the chick’s stress low during transport and transition to the farm is also important for a healthy, productive bird.

Starting with a strong, healthy chick is important, as weak chicks are more likely to succumb to pathogens and have higher mortality rates. Once the chicks arrive at the house, they should immediately be provided with high-quality nutrients, which includes fresh, clean water as well as feed. Water quality best practices are discussed in another post that is part of our strategies for producing ABF poultry series.

Another important factor in producing a strong, healthy chick is a healthy breeder. A healthy breeder produces a better egg (e.g., superior shell quality) which means a safer start for the chick. To keep breeders healthy in a ABF system, feed additives can be used instead to ensure peak performance.

Effective Litter Management: Time Consuming but Essential

Litter management is critical to keeping birds healthy and productive and reducing disease challenges. The ideal litter has a depth of 3 to 4 inches and has low moisture and ammonia levels. When choosing an appropriate litter (e.g., pine shavings, rice hulls, hay, wheat straw), it is important to consider how well it absorbs moisture and if it can contaminate feeders easily.

In some cases, litter can be reused if any caked/wet litter is removed first. Wet litter can be prevented by managing water nipples, lines, pressure and height correctly and monitoring for leaks regularly. An effective ventilation system is also important for keeping litter dry, ammonia levels low and birds healthy. We will discuss the importance of air quality in a future ABF best practices post.

Our industry experts recommend allowing 14 days between batches to get the litter dried out. They also recommend windrowing (piling into rows) the litter during this time. While it is time expensive, windrowing heats the litter (it should be at least 130 °F or 54 °C for 3 to 4 days), reducing the pathogen load and infestation of insects such as darkling beetle, while allowing the surrounding floor to dry.

It’s also recommended that once a year the house is cleaned to the ground, disinfected, the floors salted, and dust removed as much as possible. Some producers may notice that the first batch of birds in the house after an annual cleanout does not perform as well, since the beneficial bacteria are also removed when the litter is completely removed.

Biosecurity Is Key

The biggest risk to introducing pathogens and disease to a flock is people, especially those responsible for the flock’s day-to-day management. To avoid infecting the flock, visitors to the farm should be limited and personal protective equipment should always be worn. This can include boots, mask, hair nets, coveralls and gloves and using footbaths between houses. Even though boots worn in the houses should be left at the farm, it is good practice to use disinfectant spray on shoes and floorboards when arriving at and leaving farms. Any shared equipment and the tires of vehicles should also be sprayed with disinfectant when moving between farms. Ideally, equipment that is used often should be purchased for and remain at each farm. 

Rodents can also carry pathogens into the house and infect the flock. Even if the house appears sealed, rodents may still find a way in. Insects can also be an issue, particularly for long-lived birds (25 to 65 weeks). Therefore, it is advisable to have a pest control system in place. Wild birds like ducks and geese can also introduce pathogens (e.g., avian influenza) into the flock by contaminating open water sources (e.g., ponds) or through foot traffic.

Managing poultry house environmental conditions and biosecurity takes a lot of time and resources but is essential for keeping flocks healthy and production profitable. Amlan is dedicated to developing next-generation technology to help poultry producers keep birds healthy and maintain productivity for life. Download a helpful, printable guide that summarizes the above best practices here, and check our Education Center for other posts on our ABF production best practices series.

ABF Poultry Production Best Practice Series: Water Quality

Left side of a chicken's head with infographic.

In poultry production, water is considered the most important nutrient by far, yet water quality is often overlooked. Broilers typically consume at least 1.5 pounds more water than they eat in feed, so it’s important to have water that is low in microbial contamination with acceptable mineral levels. Monitoring water quality is particularly important in antibiotic-free (ABF) production systems to keep birds as healthy and profitable as possible. Here, we take a closer look at what our industry experts consider water quality best practices for ABF poultry producers, as part of our series on strategies for producing antibiotic-free poultry.

Testing Water Quality

Samples should be collected regularly to assess water quality, as the status can often change. Our industry experts recommend testing water at least annually to determine if is safe for birds to drink and if there are any issues that need correcting. Water quality should be assessed regardless of the source (i.e., municipal, well, pond), as even city water could have issues that can affect bird performance. Both the microbial contamination (e.g., E. coli) and mineral content (e.g., iron and sodium) of the water sample should be tested.

Microbial Contamination

Water can be a vector for bacteria and other pathogens, leading to significant health issues and production losses. A poultry house water line provides ideal growing conditions for pathogens as the water is often nutrient rich and in a warm environment. The risk of microbial contamination can also increase if flood water enters ponds or wells. Wild geese and ducks could also be a source of pathogens, if the water supply is from surface water (a pond).

Microbial contamination can lead to the formation of biofilm (slime) on the surface. Biofilm is an aggregate of microorganisms connected by an extracellular matrix that is attached to a surface (e.g., pipes and storage containers). As well as a health issue, biofilm can also block nipples and reduce water flow.

Mineral Composition

Excessive mineral content, particularly sodium and iron, can be an issue with some water sources. Too much sodium can cause flushing in the birds and iron can form deposits and clog the water lines. Hardness of the water (calcium and magnesium concentration) can also cause scale to build up in the lines and cause issues such as leaking nipples. Water leaking onto the litter can create further problems such as increased ammonia production.

If minerals levels are high, nutritionists may be able to formulate for mineral imbalances. However, this is usually more expensive than treating the water, particularly for large production companies where producing a specialty diet for a single location is not economically feasible. Sand filters could be used to remove some of the iron, however reverse osmosis or a larger filtration system may be needed for removing other minerals.

Cleaning Water Lines

Water lines should be flushed regularly, particularly after using water-based supplements. The lines should also be thoroughly cleaned between flocks to remove biofilm and scale buildup. Typically, hydrogen peroxide or chlorine-based products are used. The selected products should be appropriate for the application and the manufacturer’s directions followed to ensure adequate cleaning and to prevent damage to the water lines. After cleaning, the lines should be flushed well. Water storage tanks should also be cleaned regularly to prevent mold and other pathogens growing in them.

Water Consumption

Water consumption should be monitored carefully as the amount of water consumed directly affects weight gain and feed conversion. If water intake decreases, feed intake also decreases, and productivity declines.  A decrease in water consumption may indicate an issue with water quality.

Other Water Usage

Availability of good quality water is also important for non-drinking purposes, such as cool cells used for evaporative cooling. The water lines supplying the cooling cells need to be clear and flow fully to allow the cells to work correctly. Evaporative cooling is addressed further in our next post on best practices for ventilation in ABF poultry houses.

Protect Birds From Pathogens and Biotoxins

To defend against waterborne pathogens, birds need a healthy intestinal environment that can mount an effective immune response and prevent pathogens and their biotoxins entering the circulatory system, causing disease. As well as health issues, pathogens can also cause morphological changes to the intestinal lining, decreasing the surface area available for nutrient absorption. Fortunately, natural alternatives to AGP are available to support a competent immune system, maintain intestinal integrity and promote performance.

Using high-quality water in poultry production systems is essential to keep equipment running smoothly and maintain bird health and performance. Amlan is dedicated to developing next-generation technology to help poultry producers keep birds healthy and maintain productivity for life. Download a helpful, printable guide that summarizes the above best practices here and keep checking our Education Center for other posts on our ABF production best practices series.

Varium®: An Effective Alternative to AGPs for Poultry Immunity and Intestinal Integrity

Computer-generated illustration of intestinal bacterial activity in poultry.

Protecting gut health, maximizing feed efficiency and increasing growth rates in poultry has traditionally been achieved with antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs). But with the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and consumer demand for antibiotic-free (ABF) protein, the worldwide poultry industry is migrating toward ABF production systems. Poultry producers today need viable, profitable and natural alternatives to AGPs that can help maintain gut health, support efficient feed use and promote growth.

Varium® is a natural performance additive that enhances multiple aspects of the intestinal environment, creating production results consistent with those observed with AGP use. In the intestinal lumen, Varium reduces levels of pathogenic bacteria and their toxins, protecting the intestinal lining from attack. Varium also acts an enterocyte energy source, fostering healthy and strong enterocytes that can better absorb nutrients and support growth. Additionally, Varium stimulates the innate immune system to help birds naturally defend against pathogens. Continue reading to view the research demonstrating the beneficial effects Varium has on poultry immunity and intestinal integrity.

Improved Immune Competence

Birds with a healthy gut have a competent immune system that responds appropriately and is less susceptible to disease-causing bacteria and viruses. In a study conducted with Salmonella-challenged broilers at Imunova Análises Biológicas (Curitiba, Brazil), Varium helped restore immune competence and ultimately favored the development of appropriate defenses against the pathogen. The improved immune competence was demonstrated by the apparent prevention of cytotoxic T cell terminal activation (CD8+CD28 phenotype) which, when it occurs in large numbers, can render the immune system less responsive and competent in fighting against pathogen infections. Varium also restored major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC II) expression, essential for the stimulation of an antigen‑specific immune response, and increased monocyte phagocytic activity compared to the Salmonella-challenged control group. For further details of this study, contact Amlan (info@amlan.com).

Responsive to Immune System Stimuli

The ability of the immune system to prevent pathogens from establishing a successful infection is vital to keeping birds healthy and productive. The immune response to various stimuli was assessed in two Varium field trials by measuring the antibody titer from two common vaccines and assessing the prevalence of bacteria in the small intestines and digesta.

In a field trial conducted at a commercial farm in Vietnam, broilers were fed a basal diet and coccidiostat with either enramycin (at the manufacturer’s recommended dose) or Varium (0.1%) for the first 28 days. From day 29 to the end of study (either day 35 or 42), the control broilers were fed the basal diet only and the Varium group was fed the basal diet plus Varium (0.1%). Sub-samples from randomly selected birds were obtained and the data analyzed at Nong Lam University, Ho Chi Minh City.

In this trial, the infectious bronchiolitis virus (IBV) antibody titer of Varium-fed broilers was significantly increased on day 15 (P < 0.05 vs. antibiotic-fed control) and similar on day 35 to the antibiotic-fed control. Newcastle disease virus (NDV) titers were also similar on days 15 and 35 in the control and Varium groups. Antibody titers indicate the strength of the acquired immune response to vaccination. These results show that Varium can stimulate an antibody production response to vaccination that is the same as or better than broilers fed AGPs.

In another trial conducted at a university in Pakistan, broilers were fed either an AGP (zinc bacitracin, 0.01%) or Varium (0.10%) for 35 days. Varium fed birds had a higher (P < 0.05) concentration of the beneficial bacteria Lactobacilli and a lower concentration of the pathogenic bacteria Salmonella in the small intestine and digesta. This demonstrates that Varium in the diet was able to maintain a healthier intestinal microbiota. The antibody titer for NDV was also greater for Varium-fed broilers than control birds (Figure 1).

Figure 1: The Newcastle disease virus (NDV) antibody titer (by hemagglutination inhibition assay) was significantly higher (P < 0.05) in Varium-fed broilers than AGP-fed broilers on day 20 (14 days after first vaccination [intraocular and subcutaneous]) and day 35 (14 days after second vaccination [oral booster]). Different letters indicate significant differences (P < 0.05) between groups within day.

Improved Intestinal Integrity

Along with immune competence, the structure and functional integrity of the intestine is also key to reducing the risk of infection. A healthy intestinal tract and competent immune system improve the ability of the bird to block the invasion of pathogens into intestinal epithelial cells and the circulatory system.

In the Imunova Análises Biológicas study, use of a fluorescent marker demonstrated that on days 4 and 8, the increased intestinal permeability observed in the Salmonella-challenged control was mitigated with the addition of Varium to the diet (Figure 2). The reduced permeability confirmed that Varium helped maintain the structural and functional integrity of the intestinal barrier. Varium also effectively reduced excessive migration and infiltration of lymphocytes into the cecal wall, which helped dampen the inflammatory damage and improved intestinal integrity seen in Varium-treated broilers.

Figure 2: Intestinal integrity as measured by the passage of a marker. Salmonella infection resulted in increased passage of a marker from the intestine to blood on days 4 and 8 following bacterial challenge, indicating impaired mucosal integrity. Compared to the Salmonella-infected control, Varium effectively mitigated increased intestinal permeability on days 4 and 8 (P < 0.05 vs. infected control). Different letters indicate significant differences (P < 0.05) between groups within day.

Necrotic Enteritis Scores

The reduction in AGP use has triggered an increase in the occurrence of necrotic enteritis in poultry flocks. Necrotic enteritis is caused by Clostridium perfringens and can cause significant production losses. In the trials conducted in Pakistan and Vietnam, the intestinal lesion score was not different between the Varium and antibiotic-fed groups, indicating that Varium was able to reduce the occurrence of necrotic enteritis to the same extent as the AGP.

Figure 3: Necrotic enteritis lesion score (Day 35) was numerically lower in broilers fed Varium versus broilers fed AGPs.

Varium: Feed Efficiency for Poultry

These trials demonstrated that replacing AGPs in broiler diets with Varium can maintain the immune response and intestinal integrity observed with AGP use and can also potentially improve them. Varium also helped restore the immune response in pathogen-challenged broilers. The direct benefits of the immunity and intestinal integrity results in the field trials was confirmed with growth performance being similar or better than broilers fed AGP. For more information on how Varium improves productivity visit, amlan.com/varium.

Claims-Based Meat Sales Persevere Through COVID-19

Woman grocery shopping and choosing fresh poultry in supermarket.

In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, across the world, consumers stampeded to the grocery shelves, prompting weeks of unprecedented sales of groceries as they stocked up on all kinds of essentials, including meat. But the pandemic also changed their perspective about what groceries were “clean” and healthy for their families.

Consumers are buying more “natural” products

Consumers have changed purchase patterns since the pandemic took hold, from fewer trips to the store and larger basket purchases to purchasing fresh produce that is prepackaged. Consumers are also taking the time to search out products with “clean” label claims such as “all natural,” a trend which is increasing, reports Food Business News.

In a survey performed by Kerry, a taste and nutrition company, food safety was a priority for consumers in the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions. Brian Nevin, vice president of food protection at Kerry, said that consumers are searching for meat with “free from” claims on product labels, as well as fewer artificial ingredients such as meat preservatives.

In the United States, claims-based meat availability was inconsistent in the early months of COVID-19, which affected purchase ability. However, sales in this category, which includes organic, grass-fed and antibiotic-related claims, reported unprecedented growth rates, reports Watt Ag News. Specifically, claims-based meat and poultry sales increased 31.9% in dollars from March through July 2020.

Consumers drive future antibiotic-free poultry production

As people around the world return to the familiar amid COVID-19, many of these “clean label” trends in consumption and shopping patterns are likely to continue, global experts say. For example, poultry production in Southeast Asia is rapidly growing due to an increased demand for animal protein. As protein demand increases, additional questions surrounding antibiotic use for curative and preventative applications in livestock production systems have come to light.

Varium® Supports Claims-Based Meat Production

As claims-based meat production continues to hold extra value for consumers, poultry producers will need strategies to maintain flock health while meeting consumer demand for antibiotic-free meat. As an alternative to antibiotic growth promoters (AGP), Varium® a patented natural, mineral-based performance additive from Amlan International, can improve performance through reduced mortality and increased feed efficiency.

Incorporating Varium into poultry production systems can support broilers’ immune systems to improve their natural defense against pathogens. By approaching ways to reduce the necessity of antibiotics in the food production system, integrators have a greater impact on the economic health of their flocks and operations.

As the demand for claims-based poultry meat grows in the months ahead, Varium can help producers maintain a global protein supply for consumers worldwide.

Richard M. Jaffee Center for Applied Microbiology: Next-Gen Technology Driving Progress in Livestock Production

Richard M. Jaffee Center for Applied Microbiology Laboratory | Amlan International

Products that prevent pathogenic bacteria from communicating with each other? This is just one of the next‑generation technologies that scientists are developing at Amlan International’s innovative new and improved Richard M. Jaffee Center for Applied Microbiology

Amlan’s commitment to microbiology research began when their original laboratory opened in 2017 and further strengthened with the expansion of the Richard M. Jaffee Center for Applied Microbiology in October 2019. The new center provides the company with a cutting‑edge facility to accelerate novel animal health and life sciences research. With state-of-the-art equipment, the R&D team can isolate and cultivate both beneficial and pathogenic bacteria and investigate the antimicrobial effects of Amlan’s next‑generation, natural products.

The new lab is a certified Biosafety Level 2 laboratory, equipped with the technical and diagnostic resources of a traditional microbiology lab, as well as molecular biology, immunology and cell biology capabilities. It’s located near the company’s original R&D center, the Nick Jaffee Center for Innovation in Vernon Hills, Illinois. The 6,000-square-foot facility houses the life sciences team and a high‑tech laboratory space.

Novel Approach to No-Antibiotics-Ever Production

By developing innovative animal health solutions for Amlan’s customers, the research team is simultaneously tackling the global issue of antibiotic resistance. The scientists are using an antivirulence approach to control enteric disease in livestock by developing products that can modify pathogen behavior, making them less virulent (friendlier). This antivirulence approach can improve the production and health of flocks or herds while reducing the tendency to select for resistant or mutant bacteria that is seen with the use of conventional antibiotics.  

“The new lab allows our life science research team to access a wide variety of state-of-the-art equipment, such as real-time PCR, an anaerobic chamber and florescent microscopy,” says Dr. Hongyu Xue, Life Sciences Director at Amlan. “We are trying to disarm the microbial pathogens by targeting their virulence factors in this facility.”

The life sciences team can also analyze the synergistic capabilities of the company’s proprietary enterosorbent mineral formulated with other feed additives, leading to the development of new products that can provide even greater returns on investment for poultry and livestock producers.

By incorporating best production practices, natural feed additive programs and pioneering innovation that targets virulence factors, producers should be able to reduce inputs in animal diets, enhance intestinal health of food animals and improve production efficiency for the entire industry.

“This new lab enables us to bring new ideas and products to the marketplace like never before,” says Flemming Mahs, President, Amlan International. “Science and research are the foundation of our discovery process to improve animal performance by protecting their intestinal health.”

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

Efficiently raising antibiotic-free broilers

Varium Broilers Misset

Broiler growers worldwide are under pressure to reduce or eliminate growth-promoting antibiotics from bird diets. Promoting intestinal health through improved nutrition and immune system stimulation can help producers successfully replace or reduce antimicrobials without sacrificing bird health or performance.

Source: All About Feed (https://www.allaboutfeed.net/Specials/Articles/2019/12/Efficiently-raising-antibiotic-free-broilers-511753E/), Antibiotic Reduction Special Edition, Dec 2019

BY DR HONGYU XUE, LIFE SCIENCES DIRECTOR, AMLAN INTERNATIONAL

Completely removing or significantly reducing the use of antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) raises many issues for broiler producers. Their foremost concerns are whether their grow-out operations can remain competitive, profitable and free from performance-robbing intestinal diseases like necrotic enteritis.

Broiler growers moving to antibiotic-free poultry production now have the advantage of hindsight, unlike those who were impacted by the first antibiotic bans of 20-plus years ago.

Since then, many compounds have been studied for their ability to replace AGPs. Prebiotics, probiotics, enzymes, organ- ic acids, minerals and other additives can be used successfully to manage gut health instead of AGPs. But, and this is a big ca- veat, these products are often used in combination and in- crease feed costs. Formulated feed additives that combine the right ingredients to replace one or more other additives and help birds grow efficiently may be just what today’s broiler producers need. Certain formulated feed additives are de- signed to use different and (ideally) synergistic modes of ac- tion to achieve desired responses. Such products are typically tested by a team of specialists to determine the optimal for- mulation so growers don’t have to experiment. Those factors help formulated products deliver value.

Intestinal health is critical

A healthy gut is essential to a healthy bird. However, the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is the site of substantial disease challenges, including pathogens like Clostridium perfringens, Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp. An effective antibiotic alternative should demonstrate activity in three areas:

  1. The intestinal lumen to reduce bacterial disease challenges,
  2. The intestinal epithelium to strengthen the intestinal barrier,
  3. The gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) to stimulate immune function.

Varium is used worldwide in antibiotic-free poultry production to achieve equivalent outcomes as AGPs, often replacing one or more additional feed additives being used as replacements to AGPs. Multiple controlled studies and field trials demon- strate that Varium, a proprietary formulated feed additive, can replace some or all AGPs use in broiler diets. The components of the all-natural product work synergistically to provide a multifaceted approach to supporting intestinal health and im- munity, promoting efficient feed use and improving overall flock performance, see Figure 1. Those mechanisms of action support bird intestinal health and efficiency by:

 

  1. Reducing total biotoxin load, which helps protect intestinal homeostasis,
  2. Reducing pathogen load through type-1 fimbriae bacterial adhesion,
  3. Providing enterocytes with a preferred energy source, which enhances the intestinal barrier,
  4. Stimulating the innate and adaptive immune responses to help birds defend against pathogens.

Trials find comparable performance

For broiler producers seeking evidence-based options, pre- adoption trial data from commercial broiler producers in Brazil demonstrate how Varium performs alone or in combi- nation with other feed additives. In a 40-day feeding trial conducted under natural challenge, 2,400 day-old chicks were assigned to one of four treatments (Table 1).

In addition to the specified treatments, all diets included common anti- coccidial treatments. Captured and calculated data included body weight, feed intake, mortality, feed conversion ratio (FCR) and percent mortality. Broilers fed diets containing Varium alone or in combination with other additives had weight gain and FCR comparable to those fed a diet contain- ing two antibiotics, a mycotoxin binder and a probiotic. No significant differences in day-40 weight gain or FCR were de- tected among treatments. However, mortality at day 40 was substantially lower for broilers consuming Varium in their di- ets. Broilers fed diets containing Varium had higher produc- tion efficiency indices (PEI) than the control group. A second trial in Brazil compared the performance of Varium to Tylosin when fed to birds at a commercial broiler grow-out operation that produced about 170,000 birds per day for slaughter. Tylosin at a rate of 55 ppm was added to diets between August 2017 and July 2018. Tylosin and a an enzyme-based mycotox- in deactivator were then removed and Varium was added at a rate of 0.1% from August 2018 through July 2019.

Captured and calculated data included body weight and age at slaughter, average daily gain, FCR, PEI, mortality and liver quality. No significant differences were detected between treatments for FCR, average daily gain, average body weight, average age at slaughter, PEI or percent mortality. Interesting- ly, faeces from broilers fed diets containing the feed additive were firmer, resulting in better quality litter than those birds receiving Tylosin in their diets, see Table 2. Better litter quality means decreased incidence of foot pad dermatitis.

Table 1 – Trial results under natural challenge.
Treatments investigated in a 40-day feeding trial with natural challenge
Treatment Additives
Control Halquinol + virginiamycin + mycotoxin binder + Bacillus subtilis
Va + H Varium + halquinol + mycotoxin binder + B. subtilis
Va + Vir Varium + virginiamycin + mycotoxin binder + B. subtilis
Varium Varium (1 kg/MT)
Table 2 – Averages of key performance parameters.
Treatment Body weight
(kg)
Age (d) Daily gain
(g)
FCR PEI Mortality
(%)
Liver quality
(%)

Tylosin + mycotoxin binder
3.070 45.6 67.3 1.68 388 3.80 1.48
Varium 3.041 44.6 68.0 1.63 401 3.84 1.54

Profitable antibiotic-free production

Intestinal health becomes more important to profitable broiler production as AGPs are removed from bird diets. But it takes the right combination of feed ingredients and additives along with many other factors. Varium is helping commercial producers save money by replacing one or more feed addi- tives in broiler diets while maintaining or improving feed conversion and weight gain and decreasing mortality. Efficient broiler production without AGPs is possible.

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