May 15, 2019


ARM & HAMMER: Delivering Pre- and Postharvest Solutions, Building More Resilient Animals



ARM & HAMMER has seen quite a bit of change since we last talked at VIV Asia 2017. The acquisition of Agro Biosciences in 2017 followed by Passport Food Safety Solutions in 2018 has allowed the company to deliver a full pre- and post-harvest portfolio of solutions. Alongside this change, the company continues to apply science-based and proven approaches to animal diets to support animal productivity globally.


dEB in Poultry: Reinvigorating an Old Concept


ARM & HAMMER's DCAD (dietary cation-anion difference) solutions have been highly successful in helping dairy cattle prepare for the upcoming lactation and produce high-quality milk, even when they are faced with heat stress. Interestingly, a similar concept of "dietary electrolyte balance" was popularised in the 1960s and 70s for poultry, and the company sees significant opportunities in bringing it back into fashion.


"Dietary electrolyte balance helps in reducing water activity in bird litter. First, this helps to control the population of larvae and flies by keeping water activity in the litter below 60-65%. Second, this results in less death loss and better performance during stressful periods, such as during the rapid growth phase in broilers or high egg-laying phase in layers. Realize that heat stress and high performance generate metabolic acids that can be buffered by dEB," explains Dr. Elliot Block, Research Fellow, Director of Technology, in an interview with eFeedLink at VIV Asia 2019.


Building Resiliency to Challenges


Across species, ARM & HAMMER's yeast-based product, CELMANAXTM, has experienced "tremendous success", according to Dr. Block.


"CELMANAX supports the animal's immune function, improving growth performance and average daily gain. It provides pathogenic bacteria control, such as E. coli and Salmonella, which impacts food safety as well. It also has anti-coccidial and anti-parasitic properties at different dosing levels. And under stress conditions, CELMANAX prepares the immune system for challenges," Dr. Block elaborates.


"The biology is the same, whether in a chicken, dog or cow, we can expect CELMANAX to strengthen the immune system with certain components binding or agglutinating bacteria in the same way," he adds.


A most recent ARM & HAMMER innovation is CERTILLUS™, a probiotic solution, which was acquired from Agro Biosciences in 2017. Could synergistic effects be expected with CELMANAX? 


Dr. Block illustrates with an example. "A common disease in beef and dairy cattle is haemorrhagic bowel syndrome, where a combination of mycotoxins, Clostridia, and Salmonella are usually responsible. In certain cases, the use of CELMANAX alone can result in health improvement. In other cases, putting together CERTILLUS and CELMANAX can show a more positive, complete response. Both product platforms are addressing different aspects of the same issues with pathogens and the immune system. For example, while CELMANAX can address the free-floating pathogens that are already present, CERTILLUS through a different mechanism, would be able to stop further outbreaks."


Zinc Oxide Alternatives


In addition, recent research from ARM & HAMMER has shown how CELMANAX could be an alternative to zinc oxide. The European Union has already announced they will ban the use of zinc oxide in swine production by 2022.

Ben Towns, Global Business Director, joined in the conversation. "Zinc oxide has long been used for pathogen control and to prevent weaning diarrhoea. In addition to the EU, in some Asian countries regulations are coming to reduce the dependence on zinc oxide.  Producers are looking for alternatives such as CELMANAX to maintain piglet health and performance. Though no timeline is set for a similar ban in the US, swine producers globally are seeking such alternatives.  And at application rates used in trials, CELMANAX is also cheaper than zinc oxide," Towns stresses.


Acquisition Fuels Business Growth for ARM & HAMMER


In 2018, ARM & HAMMER acquired Passport Food Safety Solutions, strengthening its focus on post-harvest food safety.


"In the last three to six months, issues relating to Salmonella and E. coli in the popular press, including recalls in poultry and ground beef, really do put focus on the opportunities we have for food technology. This is also interesting considering the more standard existing solutions: peracetic acid has serious employee safety issues, while hypochlorite and lactic acid are also highly corrosive. In contrast, our bromine-based solution is very benign but highly effective, especially in large-scale processing plants," shares Dr. Block.


Apart from the acquisition of Passport Food Safety Solutions, another key milestone for ARM & HAMMER since 2017 was the acquisition of Agro Biosciences shortly after VIV Asia that same year. Towns concludes: "The acquisition of Agro Biosciences has strengthened our targeted microbial solutions at the farm level using our Microbial TerroirTM concept. This allows us to truly understand the microbial makeup of a farm or region, and then create custom blends of microbial strains to target specific pathogens. The acquisition of Passport Food Safety Solutions has enabled ARM & HAMMER to become the only organisation with pathogen control solutions both pre- and post-harvest. While we're still working on the best ways to connect both sides, it's an exciting opportunity for us, and we anticipate more breakthrough solutions over the next year to aid in animal productivity and food safety around the globe."