April 4, 2019
Chr. Hansen: Contributing to UN global sustainability goals with probiotics
"While there were some initial discussions on where we were and what we were talking about, these were quite fast settled down and there is today global consensus on the UN approach," adds Ian Hands, Global Product Manager - Swine, Animal Health and Nutrition, referring to the World Health Organisation's One Health position on antibiotic resistance.
"There is a global trend towards antibiotic reduction; while we provide customers with microbial solutions, ultimately it is a customer decision on how fast they would make the transition," says Christophe Bostvironnois, Senior Global Product Manager, Poultry, Commercial Development, Animal Health,, referring to the particular market a customer is in, and their proximity to the end consumer.
However, Jens Noesgaard Joergensen, Senior Product Manager-Swine Animal Health, stresses that customers "should consider this global trend very seriously, and it is important to note that antibiotics suppresses a healthy gut microbiome."
Randi Lundberg, Senior Research Scientist, Animal Health Innovation, adds that the negative effect of antibiotics on the gut microbiome, for the producer, should go on top of the formal, regulatory and legal requirements, as described in the One Health perspective. In her presentation, Dr. Lundberg showed how probiotics can instead increase the bacterial diversity and modulate the gut microbiome in a favourable direction.
Dr. Lundberg shared how rapid advances in bioinformatics and next-generation sequencing technologies including 'omics' technologies have provided new opportunities to help in such studies. "These technologies have enabled us to make technological leaps by combining traditional bacteriology and culture technology with our internal sequencing technologies, and specifically studying anaerobic bacteria which we weren't able to previously grow. Indeed, such technologies would continue to be key to Chr. Hansen's innovation going forward," she highlights.
Recognising that there are many 'antibiotic-alternative' product offerings on the market, Chr. Hansen has been studying the compatibility of probiotics with acidifiers, for example. "In general we do see a synergy with probiotics, as the modes of action of various feed additives are often very different," Dr. Bostvironnois highlights. He also shared that Chr. Hansen is expanding its poultry portfolio Gallipro® to serve various customer needs in Asia.
Dr. Joergensen adds that production environments with antibiotic reduction or elimination often require a "concept feeding programme", involving "a cocktail of feed additives to replace the growth-promoting effects of antibiotics".
Commenting on the APAC region, Ms Leong, says: "We are very focused on the use of our strains of probiotics in Animal Health, we have our own testing methods that we will provide to support the use of probiotics application. We recognise that there is growing interest in this area of combining various feed additives; we know that our probiotics have synergistic effects with various additives. Our customers are welcomed to reach out to us for further information."
Separately, in 2016, Chr. Hansen introduced its Flexible Feed Formulation concept which saves energy in diets. The concept is gaining growing interest particularly in the United States, and has also been recently introduced to the Asia Pacific region, shares Dr. Joergensen. "Chr. Hansen is utilising the health-enhancing functionalities of probiotics on the GIT (gastrointestinal tract) environment, and through Flexible Feed Formulation customers can choose to improve performance or change their feed formulation to suit more affordable diets. By letting customers decide on how they would like to utilise the benefits of Flexible Feed Formulation, Chr. Hansen broadens its customer offerings," explains Dr. Joergensen.
Moving forward, Dr. Hands shares that Chr. Hansen's innovation pipeline is 'full', and that "new strains would be delivered in the short-term future". Across species, Dr. Lundberg shares that the company is actively finding new ways of feeding probiotics particularly in early life, where "great potential" is seen.