January 28, 2016


Cargill reassures commitment to reducing antibiotics in poultry at IPPE


At the 2016 International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Georgia, Cargill announced that since 2009, a total of 77 in vitro and in vivo trials on additives including essential oils, probiotics, yeast derivatives and medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) have been conducted.


The trials were conducted at Cargill's Animal Nutrition Innovation Centers in Velddriel, the Netherlands, and Elk River, Minnesota, as well as at regional facilities in Jordan, France, Poland, India and the US.


Gut health is important in poultry production because the digestive system performs key functions essential to ensuring birds' optimum performance. Cargill seeks to better understand optimal gut function in four key areas: managing microflora for a well-balanced bacterial population; controlling immune function and inflammatory response; maximising nutrient digestion and absorption; improving the physical barrier against pathogens.


While all additives studied showed some benefit in these areas, Cargill researchers found that selected essential oil compounds, particularly those derived from thyme, cinnamon and oregano, had the most comprehensive effect on overall gut health. Benefits included: antimicrobial activity; modulation of immune response; antioxidant activity; improvement of nutrient digestibility; stimulation of mucus production.


"Only essential oils have both a broad spectrum of activity against pathogens and a direct impact on digestive function," said Stephanie Ladirat, global technology lead for gut health additives in Cargill's animal nutrition business.


In addition, essential oils were found to be particular efficient in conditions where intestinal infections such as Salmonellosis and Coccidiosis were present. They were also found to be a viable alternative to antibiotics as more than 85% of the results showed a minimal difference between the positive control (antibiotics) and essential oils.


The research also showed that essential oils are just one facet of a feeding programme that promotes ideal gut health and allows antibiotic reduction. Research findings support combining essential oils with organic acids to get maximum efficacy. "Cargill's local nutrition experts are working directly with poultry producers to develop customised, holistic feeding programmes encompassing nutrition, additives and farm management based on the study results," said Twan Van Gerwe, poultry R&D director in Cargill's animal nutrition business.


Combined study results from 12 trials demonstrated that birds given Cargill's PROMOTE® Biacid™ Nucleus additive, which contains a proprietary mixture of seven selected essential oil compounds, in combination with an antibiotic-free diet, consistently improves body weight gain by 2% and feed conversion by 1.5%, producing a return on investment (ROI) of 5:1 for producers.


For poultry producers the high return on investment is a top benefit of intestinal health support. However, promoting gut health also helps address issues in food safety and animal welfare. Healthy poultry intestines may result in a lower risk of bacterial food contamination and in healthier barn environments.


Finally, feed efficiency has become increasingly important due to the growing world population and limitations in feed resources. Supporting gut heath contributes to efforts to meet increasing demand for global animal protein in an efficient way. "Promoting gut health while reducing AGPs is critical for sustainable animal performance and profitability," added Van Gerwe. "Our R&D work in improving poultry gut health is an important part of Cargill's commitment to nourishing the world's population."

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