XJ-BIO: Building upon the elements of trace mineral nutrition
For nearly two decades, XJ-BIO has been studying the building blocks of trace mineral nutrition at a time when trace minerals were merely considered as just another basic nutritional element for use in feeds and animals.

Today, the company, based in Changsha, Hunan province, China, takes pride in its Optimal Mineral Solution (OMS) that is becoming a proven model in responding to recent challenges like antimicrobial reduction and African swine fever (ASF), chairman of Xingjia Huang Yiqiang tells LIVESTOCK and FEED Business.
In the process of manufacturing its trace mineral product, utmost importance is placed on biosecurity, specifically, of the vehicles that transport raw materials as well as personnel, factory equipment and dormitories. Even pork consumed in XJ-BIO's factory canteen comes solely from its research farm. These stringent measures and policies were in place even before ASF's emergence in China in 2018 - a testament to XJ-BIO's industry foresight.

Huang Yiqiang, chairman of  XJ-BIO.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has only bolstered Huang's belief that livestock production practices should strengthen the natural harmony of the broader ecosystem. Adjusting nutritional management practices would help lower emissions and reduce the use of antimicrobials, resulting in the sustainable production of healthier livestock in a way that is friendlier to the environment.
XJ-BIO's OMS model addresses these issues at four aspects with highly bioavailable products: providing essential trace mineral nutrition to meet the daily requirements of animals; providing functional trace mineral nutrition which benefits animals in terms of immunity, stress level, reproductive capability,etc.; providing health-related trace mineral nutrition which improves gut health, overall health status and disease resistance; and providing medicinal therapeutic nutrition which includes other nutritional components like amino acids and plant extracts.
In regard to medical nutrition within an antibiotic-free environment, Huang believes that it should entail quality trace minerals and amino acids, and continues to exert antimicrobial effects and promotes animal growth and health.

Uplifting industry standards and meeting consumer demands

Today, non-therapeutic use of antimicrobials is banned in China's cattle and layer sectors. Along with rising consumer demand for popular egg products, the egg sector is focusing more on the production of eggs that are safe to consume and have a longer shelf life, better eggshell quality and nutritional qualities like selenium, omega-3 and short-chain fatty acid content. XJ-BIO's product, the BeneEgg series, can fulfill these demands.
For the dairy sector, XJ-BIO is collaborating with Yili and Mengniu to improve milk quality, somatic cell count and hoof quality.
For swine, one of XJ-BIO's products for grower and finishing pigs, BeneMeat, can be supplemented one to two months before slaughter for a more vibrant meat colour, lower drip loss, and a richer and more fragrant taste profile. Huang highlights that industry standards have been raised to meet growing consumer demand for higher pork quality. He estimates that 60% of Chinese consumers today demand safe pork, along with 20-30% of them valuing the taste and quality of pork.
Last year, XJ-BIO is also the "first in the world to develop a product that can increase swine immunity and reduce mortality rate related to ASF," Huang said. Zapion is a synergistic combination of trace minerals and plant extracts (including traditional Chinese medicine) that works with three modes of action. The product inactivates the virus and prevents it from entering pig cells and acts as an adsorbent of the virus.
Additionally, given that ASF leads to a significant generation of free radicals in the pig's body (thus, resulting in serious inflammation, haemorrhage and eventually organ failure), Zapion also functions as an antioxidant and repairs organ damage.
In July 2019, clinical trials on the product started at XJ-BIO's research farm. For infected swine, survivability was increased to 60-70%. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests continued to test negative 1.5 to two months after recovery. There was also no further disease reoccurrence after 10 months.

XJ-BIO Tianhua Animal Applied Research Centre in Hunan province, China.
For further verification, post-mortem tests were conducted on various organs and lymph nodes. XJ-BIO also engaged two companies to separately conduct PCR and antigen tests. There was no vertical transmission from infected sows as piglets born alive tested negative. For the use of the product to prevent infection, survivability was as high as 85-95%.

Separately, tests had been conducted on Zapion in an antibiotic-free production environment. Interestingly, the taste and quality of the pork produced were greatly enhanced.

According to Huang, the large-scale market promotion of Zapion has since started. The product's launch aligns with his hope that the world would surmount challenges caused by COVID-19 and just as pork consumption would begin to pick up.

XJ-BIO's new manufacturing facility in Tongguan,  Changsha, Hunan Province, China.
XJ-BIO's laboratory accredited by the China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment (CNAS).
- Ngai Meng CHAN

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