September 1, 2015

Alltech: Of MIKO, 37+ and broad-based management


Beyond excellent products, Alltech believes that a broad-based approach to mycotoxin control is the best one to provide the flexibility required to effectively deal with challenges in the field in a simple, cost effective manner. 


byNgai Meng CHAN


With more than 20 different technologies and programmes revolving around yeast, yeast fermentation remains the central catalyst to Alltech's business. This also applies to the company's mycotoxin business, which was started in 1994 when researchers observed that mycotoxin-related effects on health and performance could be partially alleviated through the feeding of yeast culture.


Alltech's drive to further understand this resulted in the ensuing mycotoxin research and development of Mycosorb®, Europe's number one mycotoxin binder.


According to Nick Adams, Global Director of Alltech'sMycotoxin Management Team, the global feed industry has become far more understanding and accepting of mycotoxin binders over the past ten years. This is in spite of the plethora of mycotoxin solutions being offered on the market in recent years, with the vast majority being supported by little research that typically focuses on simple laboratory testing for individual mycotoxin binding.


The leading companies are the ones which have been able to produce evidence related to the impact of mycotoxins on animal health and performance, the mode of action of mycotoxin binders, and the return on investment they subsequently give. 


"Probably the most important component of defining efficacy of, and building confidence in, a mycotoxin binder comes from peer reviewed research in the target species that demonstrates the ability of the product to alleviate mycotoxin-related symptoms and performance effects," stresses Adams.


He adds, "Despite new technologies released on to the market, there is still no individual product that is supported by the level of peer reviewed research as Mycosorb and this is why it remains the trusted brand for many feed mills and producers globally."


This has been the backbone of Alltech's approach to mycotoxin management. Recently, new tools such as UPLC-MSMS (a laboratory analytical method) have supported the company's animal-based research with a clearer definition of mycotoxin risk as well as product efficacy towards multiple mycotoxins.


Apart from concerns relating to product efficacy, customers are also concerned about the potential performance loss due to mycotoxin contamination of feeds and the subsequent return on investment they might achieve by using a proven product such as Mycosorb, according to Adams. Regardless of how buoyant agricultural markets are, mycotoxins still have the ability to affect animal performance and negatively impact the bottom line for farmers. 


Accordingly, Alltech has developed a Risk Equivalent Quantity (REQ) conceptwhich assesses and calculates the total potential risk to a given species associated with the mycotoxin group present in a sample.Alltech'sMycotoxin Management Team then estimates the level of performance loss based upon the mycotoxin risk, allowing producers to more clearly understand the potential losses involved with a given feed ingredient or finished feed, along with the possible returns from using Mycosorb.

The REQ concept is supported by the Alltech 37+®mycotoxin analysis system, which can assist to reliably detect and address the risks caused by over 37 mycotoxins in a holistic manner.


Given the mycotoxin profile of grains globally and the trading of feed ingredients that takes place, Alltech's belief is that a broad spectrum approach is the best one to provide the flexibility required to effectively deal with challenges in the field in a simple, cost effective manner. 


Based on the 37+ analysis, the company offers a more sophisticated approach to try to define the mycotoxin challenge in detail and provide a more holistic solution that is customised to the customer's specific situation. 


"The key here will be to try and maintain a focus on multiple mycotoxin contamination as much as possible rather than individual mycotoxins because ultimately this is the challenge faced by the animal in field. 


The goal will be to continue to close the gap between the mycotoxin analysis on paper and the animal performance effects in reality such that decision making related to the use of Mycosorb is made far more simple and transparent," Adams explains.


Besides REQ and 37+, in the 128 countries which Alltech has operations in, the MIKO (Mycotoxin Hazard Analysis) programme, based on HACCP principles (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points), is designed to identify the mycotoxin risks within a given farm or feed mill and create a plan to minimise the risks for the animal.


"The goal of the MIKO programme is to understand the level of mycotoxin challenges in the supply chain so that the right steps can be taken to try and mitigate their negative effects on animal performance and food safety. This involves establishing the correct monitoring procedures as well as identifying critical levels for the given animal species being fed. With this information, the right balance can be struck between economical feeding and optimal animal performance as it relates to mycotoxins," Adams highlights.


Even raw materials in feed can have huge variations. In the different world regions and individual countries which Alltech operates in, the feed industry makes use of various grain types and local by-products.


The company's 37+ analysis system accordingly includes a tailored summary tool that separates feed ingredient types. This allows Alltech'sMycotoxin Management team to quickly work with customers to identify their specific mycotoxin risk related to different ingredients from various regions of the world.


"The objective of this is to allow a more integrated solution to be found using the different control points available to the feed mill, one of which would be to include a proven binder such as Mycosorb A+," Adams points out.


Mycosorb A+ has been developed to offer a broader spectrum of mycotoxin adsorption, utilising Alltech's knowledge and experience both in yeast fermentation and heterotrophic algae production.


On top of providing better return on investments for its customers, all of Alltech's facilities operate in a sustainable manner according to its ACE principle, in other words producing products that improve the health and welfare of Animals, satisfy Consumer demands and protect the Environment.


"All of our facilities operate under Alltech Quality System guidelines, which require adherence to the strictest quality guidelines from around the world, no matter where or what we are producing," stresses Adams.


While there are differences in the regional markets around the world, the one thing that remains consistent is an interest in understanding more about mycotoxin contamination patterns and the potential impact that these will have on animal performance, according to Adams.


"In many respects, the mycotoxin arena is still a developing one globally, thus we see a lot of interest in both developing and developed markets. As feed volumes grow in regions such as Latin America and Asia, there is certainly an opportunity to grow sales simultaneously; however, we continue to see solid growth in developed countries as the penetration of Mycosorb increases," he predicts.


"And Alltech has penetrated all major markets with the Mycosorb product line."


The company will be opening its third 37+ laboratory in Ireland later this year. The lab will support its current 37+ lab facilities in the United States and China, with the aim of developing its mycotoxin solutions portfolio.


As the awareness of mycotoxin contamination grows and producers better understand the effects of mycotoxins on animal performance, Alltech expects to see strong growth globally for the mycotoxin solutions that it provides.

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