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New EU Project Assesses Bioactive Products

18 December 2012, at 2:54pm

EU - A €1.68-million project - 'Thrive-Rite' - coordinated by BioAtlantis Ltd. aims to validate the effectiveness of commercially available products in enhancing pig and poultry performance and reducing infection in challenge situations.

Pig and poultry farmers face huge problems in the form of rising production costs, tighter margins and poor animal health. However, solutions to some of these problems are becoming available. A €1.68-million project coordinated by BioAtlantis Ltd. (Ireland) and including three other Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), will validate the effectiveness of commercially available products in enhancing pig and poultry performance and reducing infection in challenge situations. 'THRIVE-RITE' has been granted a two-year window to generate products which can achieve gains previously obtained through the use of in-feed antibiotics, a practice banned in the EU in 2006.

The aims of THRIVE-RITE (Project number no: 315198, are to:

  • Test and validate the effectiveness of naturally-derived bioactive compounds developed by BioAtlantis Ltd (Ireland), Clasado Ingredients Ltd. (Malta) and Drobex- Agro Sp. Z O.O. (Poland) under challenge conditions.
  • Test bioactives in direct application and transfer via maternal and in-ovo means.
  • The expected outcomes are as follows:
    • increased productivity as measured by Average Daily Gain (ADG) and Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR)
    • proof that the bioactives can combat infection
    • reduced level of pathogenic bacteria
    • reduce mortality
    • enhanced immune responsiveness.
    • increased antioxidant activity in pig and poultry meat.

All bioactives are naturally-derived and targets have been set to achieve benefits which are on-par with those historically obtained through the use of banned in-feed growth promoting antibiotics. The bioactives being tested have already gone through intensive investigation to date but this project expands the testing criteria to a challenge situation. If THRIVE-RITE products prove successful, this will encourage a considerable re-think of how to manage those stresses, infections and performance losses which manifest at early life stages.

A further interesting feature of THRIVE-RITE is the addition of the bioactives to the maternal animal for the week prior to farrowing and the 21 days of lactation. Preliminary trials have indicated strong benefits in this area. Breakthrough technology in the form of in ovo application is also being validated. This involves addition of the bioactives to eggs at the embryo stage. Validation activities in THRIVE-RITE are high and will involve University College Dublin (Ireland), University of Technology and Life Sciences in Bydgoszcz (Poland) and Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Belfast (UK), before large-scale verification on commercial animal production facilities belonging to Truly Irish Country Food Ltd. (Ireland) and Drobex- Agro Sp. Z O.O. (Poland).

The project is the culmination of eight years of collaborative research between BioAtlantis Ltd and UCD. The additional links which have been created between academic partners and SMEs in Europe provides a strong basis for identifying effective solutions to the problems currently facing the farming sector in Europe.

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