September 22, 2016


Chinese universities and research institutions convene for Alltech's annual alliance meeting



On September 3, professors and experts from the Alltech China Research Alliance gathered to share their research progress and discuss the most pressing issues in the animal feed and nutrition industry.


Alltech launched the Chinese Research Alliance project in October 2012, representing a significant investment for the company in the Chinese markets for research and education. Professor Li Defa, academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, believes that the Alltech China Research Alliance has played a leading and inspiring role in the industry.


"Food safety and the environment are getting more and more attention in China's agricultural sector," said Dr. Mark Lyons, global vice president and head of Greater China for Alltech. "Alltech wants to provide agricultural solutions for China's future, which will have an impact on the food and feed industry around the world.


To identify these solutions, we formed the Alltech China Research Alliance. By partnering with leading universities and research institutions in the country, we can work together to deliver stronger solutions faster."


Through the research alliance project, Alltech has built long-term scientific research cooperation with 10 well-known universities, research institutes and leading feed and food enterprises. The focuses of their research have included mycotoxin management and inspection technology, the assessment of new feed additives, animal nutrition control and nutrigenomics (the study of nutrition at the genetic level), the control of greenhouse gas emissions, and aquaculture innovations.


At the meeting, professors and scholars from the research alliance project discussed the following:


Organic trace minerals: The alliance team from Zhejiang University completed trace minerals replacement research on pigs in 2015. From tests of faecal excretion samples, they determined that 25% Total Replacement Technology (TRT), which is the use of organic trace minerals, can reduce the excretion of trace minerals in faeces and decrease environmental impacts. Alltech will continue to promote research on the total replacement of mineral nutrition with organic minerals because of its importance to environmental protection and sustainability.


Algae: Microalgae are rich in protein and DHA omega-3, which makes it the best choice to replace fish oil or fish meal. Alltech is a leader in microalgae technology and produces clean and consistent heterotrophically-grown algae at its flagship facility in Winchester, Kentucky, US.


Through the alliance, Alltech and Ocean University of China conducted a trial to evaluate the effects of replacing fish oil with microalgae in the diet of Pacific white shrimp and came to the conclusion that the whole cell microalgae could replace 100% of fish oil DHA without negatively affecting shrimp growth. In the future, more research will be conducted on how to reduce the costs of the diets containing algae. Meanwhile, Alltech and Zhejiang University are collaborating on producing DHA-rich eggs.


Dr. Jun Luo, professor of animal science and technology at Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, also gives the Alltech China Research Alliance high praise.


Through the alliance, Alltech hopes to put more theory into practice, focusing research on the practical needs of customers. The company believes in bringing customers' problems first to the laboratory to seek out proven solutions through the alliance. 


By the end of 2016, Alltech will invest US$2.5 million in the Alltech China Research Alliance.


"The programme provides a very good education for young scientists in agriculture," said Luo. "The alliance can guide the undergraduate and graduate students to seek a better career path."


"China's traditional agriculture falls far behind the agriculture in Europe and the United States. Alltech takes the environment and food safety into consideration and undoubtedly promotes the development of the whole industry and agriculture," added Professor Mai Kangsen, academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering. 


All the research alliances that are part of the Alltech China Research Alliance are managed by a management committee composed of representatives from Alltech and the universities and research institutions, with three members from each side. The committee is responsible for the policymaking of the alliance, preparation of the programme and direction of the trials. Alltech provides operations, equipment, research funding and other funding for the alliance each year and also provides scholarships to the institutes of animal science and technology.


The first Alltech research alliance was launched with the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky, US, in 2004. At present, Alltech has formal research alliances with nearly 30 top universities and institutes worldwide.
Attendees of the alliance meeting included Dr. Mark Lyons, global vice president and head of Greater China for Alltech (fifth from right in the front row); Professor Li Defa at the Chinese Academy of Engineering (fourth from right in the front row); Professor Mai Kangsen at the Chinese Academy of Engineering University (fifth from left in the front row); and Jun Luo, professor of animal science and technology at Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University (second from right in the second row).
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