November 15, 2013


BIOMIN Asia Nutrition Forum: Key to sustainability Experts explore reduction of antimicrobial use and sustainability in livestock production

By Geraldine EE



At the Asia Nutrition Forum organised by animal nutrition company, BIOMIN, an urgent call for the prudent use of antimicrobial and the use of alternatives, such as phytogenics in livestock production was the key message to participants gathered at the Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on October 18.


Prof Duong Duy Dong, vice rector of the University of Agriculture and Forestry in Vietnam, who chaired the forum, acknowledged BIOMIN's commitment to the livestock production sector, as the company marked the opening of its second premix plant in Vietnam and its 30th year of founding this year. Indeed, BIOMIN has put together an impressive programme line-up, which tackled current challenges in swine and poultry production and aquaculture, as well as sustainability issues such as the use of antibiotic in animal production and the resultant resistance in humans.


Dr Jan Vanbrabant, CEO of BIOMIN Asia Pacific led participants straight into the discussion in his welcome remark, "Since the early days, replacing antibiotic growth promoters with natural alternatives has been one of the key success factors of BIOMIN."


This is followed by Emeritus Professor Mary Barton from the University of South Australia, who gave a thought-provoking presentation on the impact of in-feed antimicrobial use on antimicrobial resistance in human pathogens.


Today, pathogens in animal have developed fluoroquinolones and tylosin resistance and antimicrobial resistance in humans is linked to antimicrobial use in livestock production, as "We all swim in the same gene pool". Prof Barton explained that antimicrobial use at lower (sub-therapeutic) concentrations throughout the production period, mainly for growth promotion, provided an ideal mechanism for selecting bacterial strains resistant to that microbial.


Prof Barton believes production can be improved through hygiene, husbandry and dietary modification including the use of additives such as prebiotics, probiotics, enzymes, plant extracts and organic acids. Alternative therapeutic approaches such as the use of vaccines and bacteriophages can also be adopted.


Finally, she called for improved antimicrobial stewardship, including control of over-the-counter sale of antimicrobials; the ban on antimicrobial growth promoters; ban on the use of human antimicrobials in livestock production; and importantly, education on antimicrobial use.


Dr Ileis Giannenas, lecturer at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece said phytogenics present alternative means to support animal performance and hence improve profitability. Phytogenics are formulated with essential oils to provide more consistent composition than herbs and essential oils, and hence deliver consistent results as feed additives. Well known effects of phytogenics include antimicrobial (antibacterial), antifungal, cytotoxic, antioxidant, antiprotozoal and antiparasitic. In addition, they could also be anti-inflammatory, anti-viral effect and immuno-stimulant. 


Technical manager of BIOMIN, Inês Rodrigues, reinforced Dr Giannenas' claims and explained that phytogenic promotes palatability and endogenous secretion, nutrient digestibility, gut microbiota optimisation and intestinal challenges to achieve improved performance, liveability and meat quality. Rodrigues also presented results of the recent BIOMIN mycotoxin survey and shared that BIOMIN is the first company to obtain EU positive votes and EU-authorisation for Mycofix® Secure as an aflatoxin-binding product and BIOMIN® BBSH 797 as a product for trichothecene biotransformation


Dr Robert Van Barneveld, specialist livestock nutritionist from Australia-based Barneveld Nutrition discussed challenges of Asian pork production as it transitions from smaller operation to more intensive commodity meat production for supermarkets and international markets.  Issues discussed include feed security, diseases, animal welfare, traceability, energy conservation, efficiency and market access.


On feed security, Dr Van Barneveld called for reduced reliance on corn and the diversification to other feed ingredients, including dedicated feed crops, damaged or degraded food crops and co-products such as animal protein. He also called for the recycling of phosphorus and he search for phosphate alternatives such as phytase, meat and bone meal (MBM) and algae. Lastly, he encouraged producers to embrace new technologies including genetics, genetically modified organisms (GMO) and the use of near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy.


'Current Issues with Raw Material Availability and Nutritive Value of Aqua Feeds' presented by Prof Dominique P. Bureau from the Fish Nutrition Research Laboratory of the Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph challenged conventional views on aqua feed formulation through simple math. Fishmeal and fish oil make up only about 17% of aquaculture feed, but is 2.5 to 3 times more expensive than other protein sources on a protein basis. Hence feed producers should channel efforts towards the 83% of raw materials including grains, milling by-products and soy.


He said that formulating cost-effective feeds requires reliable information on the requirement of the animals and the nutritive value and limitations of ingredients and urged closer interaction between feed formulators, nutritionists, buyers and quality assurance specialists and feed ingredient manufacturers to enhance knowledge of the overall value chain.


Shifting the focus to poultry production, Dr Leonardo Linares, nutritionist from Aviagen said that improved poultry genetics has resulted in improved performance and opportunities for nutritional strategies. He said that better understanding of the gut ecosystem, modulated by pro-nutrient feed additives such as probiotics, organic acids, phytobiotics and oligosaccharides is key to safeguarding enteric issues.


Finally, Franz Waxenecker, director of development from BIOMIN concluded the forum by tying issues back to the three pillars BIOMIN's NutriEconomics concept for sustainability - nutrition, economics and the environment in tackling current challenges to meet growing protein demand to feed the world, while staying profitable and environment-friendly.


The Asia Nutrition Forum brought together over 200 customers and distributors from Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. The forum in Vietnam is one of the six stops planned for the Asia Nutrition Forum this year, which includes Qingdao and Guangzhou in China, Seoul, Tokyo and Hyderabad.


Prof Duong Duy Dong, vice rector of the University of Agriculture and Forestry in Vietnam, Chair of the Asia Nutrition Forum


Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


Dr Jan Vanbrabant, CEO of BIOMIN Asia Pacific

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