Global
June 13, 2017 - A new international cooperation has been created to develop and establish guidance concerning new animal feed ingredients and new uses for existing feed ingredients.

The International Cooperation for Convergence of Technical Requirements for the Assessment of Feed Ingredients (ICCF) was launched by animal feed and feed ingredient associations from Canada, the European Union and the United States including the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the European Commission (DG SANTE), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), the Animal Nutrition Association of Canada (ANAC), the EU Association of Specialty Feed Ingredients and their Mixtures (FEFANA) and the International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF).

“The ICCF is the result of a concerted effort to bring together feed regulators and industry feed associations to work together to develop common guidance documents for technical requirements needed in the assessment of feed ingredients,” said ICCF Chair Melissa Dumont.
The ICCF Steering Committee will define the priorities and activities of the project. ICCF expert working groups will develop specific technical guidance documents. READ MORE
Published in Nutrition and Feed
June 12, 2017, Hunstville, Ala. – Aviagen, the world’s leading poultry breeding company, has added nutritionist Dr. Elisangela Glass to its Global Nutrition Team (GNT).

Effective April 24, Dr. Glass joins a team of nine nutritionists on the GNT, which currently offers nutritional support to Aviagen broiler breeder customers worldwide. Dr. Glass will report directly to Alex Corzo, Aviagen’s director of Global Nutrition Services. Supporting the U.S. and Canadian markets, Dr. Glass will be located in Hunsville, Alta.

Her considerable education and background will make her an invaluable nutrition resource for U.S. pedigree, great grandparent and grandparent flocks, as well as Aviagen’s U.S. and Canadian parent stock customers.

Dr. Glass earned a B.S. in Animal Science from the Universidade Estadual Paulista in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as well as an M.S. and Ph.D. (2007) in Animal Science with a focus on Poultry Nutrition for the University of Missouri in the U.S.

Before joining Aviagen, she worked with Cargill Animal Nutrition since 2007 in various roles such as nutrition manager for the U.S. turkey division, consulting nutritionist for global feed operations and consulting nutritionist for broiler operation in Central America.

“Aviagen customers and her colleagues on the GNT will benefit from Dr. Glass’s in-depth education and experience developing nutrition strategies at a global level,” says Dr. Corzo. “I welcome Dr. Glass to the Aviagen GNT and have great confidence that she will help us continue to offer cutting-edge nutritional advice to our team and customers.”
Published in Company News
May 30, 2017 - The connection between eggs and heart health has been studied for decades. When examined all at once, what does this science reveal? Dr. Dominik Alexander sought to find out by performing a comprehensive meta-analysis of egg and heart health studies from around the world.

Join Dr. Alexander, Principal Epidemiologist with EpidStat Institute, for this webinar as he presents findings from his meta-analysis of studies exploring egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

Collectively, these studies showed that up to one egg daily was associated with a small reduction in stroke risk while regular egg intake was not associated with either increasing or decreasing the risk of coronary heart disease.

Dominik D. Alexander, PhD, MSPH, is the Principal Epidemiologist with EpidStat Institute based in Ann Arbour, Michigan. He has extensive experience in health research methodology, meta-analysis, and disease causation, particularly in the conceptualization, design, analysis, and interpretation of epidemiologic studies.

Dr. Alexander has published on a diverse range of topics and types of studies, including original epidemiologic research, qualitative reviews, systematic weight-of-evidence assessments, and quantitative meta-analyses.

Because of his expertise in research methodology, Dr. Alexander has served as principal investigator on numerous projects involving a wide variety of exposures and health outcomes.

His research areas include: occupational and environmental exposures, such as asbestos, benzene, trichloroethylene, solvents, pesticides, arsenic, and dioxin; community health studies and cluster investigations involving air, water, and soil exposures; clinical, pharmacoepidemiology, and medical device studies including clinical trial design and support.

In addition, Dr. Alexander has extensive experience in nutritional epidemiology and has conducted systematic reviews and meta-analyses of dietary and nutritional factors and cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and body composition. His work in this area has involved studies of dietary patterns, intake of whole foods, and dietary supplements, such as meat and fat intake, dairy and egg consumption, breakfast eating, multivitamin and mineral supplements, fish oil, caffeine, and infant formula.

For more information on the upcoming webinar, visit: https://www.canadianpoultrymag.com/events/webinar-eggs-and-heart-health-65

Published in Consumer
May 29, 2017, Spain - A study performed in Spain found that birds yielded larger live and carcass weights and a higher percentage of breast meat when fed hydroxy trace minerals as compared to broilers fed inorganic trace minerals.

Over the past 20 years, numerous studies conducted globally to evaluate various forms of supplemental copper and zinc in broiler diets have confirmed the ability of these important trace minerals to improve carcass weights, yield and quality.

More specifically, hydroxy trace minerals have been shown to be able to improve the value of each bird over inorganic sources of trace minerals.

In 2016, a study conducted at an experimental facility in Spain measured the results of hydroxy trace mineral sources of copper and zinc versus inorganic trace minerals (sulphates) when fed at nutritional levels.

Researchers allocated a total of 28 pens of 44 birds each to two treatments.

During 35 days, both treatment groups were fed either 80 ppm copper and zinc as hydroxy trace minerals -Selko IntelliBond C and Selko IntelliBond Z - or in the form of sulphates. Carcass traits were assessed at a rate of 2 birds per pen.

At the end of the study, researchers found numerical improvements in the broilers fed hydroxy trace minerals over those fed inorganics.

Birds in the hydroxy trace mineral programme had heavier live weights (7.4%) and heavier carcass weights (7.7%) compared to sulphate-fed broilers.

Hydroxy trace minerals also contributed to an increased breast meat percentage (16.1%) compared to birds fed inorganic trace minerals (15.3%).

These data indicate that changing the source of trace minerals from inorganic sources to hydroxy trace minerals in the diet of broilers may have the ability to improve carcass traits such as weight and breast meat yield.
Published in Nutrition and Feed
May 25, 2017, Lexington, KY - During ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference, 70 speakers, including the brightest international minds in science, agriculture, technology and business, highlighted technologies that have the potential to revolutionize agriculture and make the next big leap in productivity possible.

Across all agricultural sectors, digital technologies and applications are emerging that are disrupting production systems and supply chains, creating radically different business models and enabling farmers and agribusiness to work with levels of precision and insight that were previously unimaginable.

“Technology will change beyond belief,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, founder and president of Alltech. “Things are changing at a rapid pace, and companies need to start thinking like startups: go and grow fast.”

Sharing his perspective from more than 36 years in business, Dr. Lyons listed his five key elements for success in this ever-changing marketplace: Speed, leadership, culture, training, and a unique dynamic of “fun”.

“We’re in the midst of an agri revolution — it’s happening right here, right now, and it’s exciting,” said Robert Walker, CEO of Keenan, who addressed attendees on disruptive and data-driven technologies.

During his talk, Walker highlighted how Keenan, an agriculture manufacturing specialist, partners with technology companies such as Vodafone and Intel to provide farmers with instant information on their herds’ feed ration through cloud computing.

Peter Diamandis, founder of the XPrize Foundation and co-founder of Singularity University, addressed attendees on disruptive innovations, highlighting that the only constant is change, and the rate of change is increasing.

“To stay ahead in any industry, companies and entrepreneurs must think in an exponential way, as it’s exponential technology that will transform every industry,” he said.

Diamandis was awarded the Alltech Humanitarian Award, which is bestowed annually to someone of strong character who uses their accomplishments to positively influence and inspire other people.

The three-day conference also heard from George Blankenship, former executive at Tesla Motors, Apple Computer and GAP Inc., Lisa Bodell, founder and CEO of futurethink, Jack Bobo, senior vice president and chief communications officer at Intrexon, and many more.

The conference will return to Lexington, Kentucky, May 20–23, 2018.
Published in New Technology
May 25, Toronto, Ont. - Canadian based Agrisoma Biosciences Inc. signed a new partnership with the country of Uruguay introducing a new, renewable, low carbon cash-crop for farmers.

The deal gives the Quebec-based company the opportunity to grow its business outside of Canada by planting thousands of new hectares of the Carinata seed in Uruguay.

"This is a made in Canada solution," says Steve Fabijanski, CEO of Agrisoma. "Carinata, is a new crop first developed, tested and grown in Canada and now going global, being farmed as a new second, cash-crop alternative," says Fabijanski.

The partnership opens new opportunities for the Canadian agricultural sector to grow more Carinata and feed the global markets demanding a broad solution for world food security and clean energy.

"This partnership is a shining example of how foreign governments and Canadian business can work together to find sustainable farming solutions that address consumer's increasing demand for healthy food production and renewable energy, says Rodolfo Nin Novoa, Uruguay's Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Under this new deal, both parties anticipate significant economic and rural benefits from production of Carinata in Uruguay as a non-food crop that can be made into low carbon bio and aviation fuels as well as nutritious, GMO-free animal feed.

Carinata was the crop that fueled the world's first 100% bio-jet flight in Ottawa in 2013.

Last month, Agrisoma's GMO-free animal feed received approval by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Published in Company News
May 18, 2017, Adelaide, Aus. - People choose to buy free-range or cage-free eggs because they believe they taste better and are better quality than eggs from caged hens, new research published today suggests.

In a study, conducted by researchers at the University of Adelaide and published in Anthrozoös, the journal of the International Society for Anthrozoology, the most often reported motivations for buying free-range eggs included reasons such as the eggs were of better quality, more nutritious, and safer to eat, and that they allowed purchasers to avoid “industrialized” food.

Despite participants describing caged-egg production as “cruel”, they did not tend to emphasize welfare reasons as critical for their purchases of free-range eggs. Instead, participants felt that the free-range chickens were “happier” and thus produced a better quality of product.

This finding suggests that consumers are more likely to purchase a food product if it is both “ethical” and viewed as being of better quality, rather than for ethical reasons alone.

The study also revealed that there were high levels of awareness among participants of caged-egg production when compared to other types of animal farming.

In addition, participants who bought free-range or cage-free eggs did not necessarily tend to buy meat with ethical claims, in part because the price difference is much smaller in eggs in comparison to different types of meat products. Some people produced their own free-range eggs by keeping a few hens.

To collect the data for the study, the researchers conducted focus groups and shopping mall interviews with 73 participants (of mixed age and gender) and asked about their food purchasing habits.

Then they categorized the different reasons that people gave for their decisions to understand why people choose the food they do, especially when there are ethical issues and competing values involved.

Lead author Dr. Heather J. Bray from the School of Humanities and the Food Values Research Group at the University of Adelaide commented, “Taste and quality are strong motivations for purchasing and may be part of the reason why people are prepared to pay a higher price. More importantly these findings suggest that consumers think about animal welfare in a much broader way than we previously thought, and in particular they believe that better welfare is connected to a better quality product.”

The authors recommend that more research is needed including studies to further understand consumer motivations behind purchasing products with ethical production claims, in order to explore whether changes in production methods or labelling would be supported by consumers.

This work was funded by the Australian Research Council.

Read the full article online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08927936.2017.1310986
Published in Consumer
May 17, 2017, Ann Arbor, MI — Global public health organization NSF International has developed an independent certification protocol — Raised Without Antibiotics — to certify animal products have been raised without exposure to antibiotics.

The new certification protocol will help identify products that do not contribute to the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

NSF International’s Raised Without Antibiotics certification can be granted to a wide variety of animal products, including meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, eggs, leather and certain supplement ingredients.

The certification provides independent verification of on-package claims and is the only “raised without antibiotics” certification that covers all animal products.

“A growing number of consumers are concerned about the widespread development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the use of antibiotics in food production,” said Sarah Krol, Global Managing Director of Food Safety Product Certification, NSF International. “NSF International’s Raised Without Antibiotics certification gives consumers an easy way to identify and purchase animal products that have been raised without exposure to antibiotics, which may help alleviate their concerns.”

A 2016 survey conducted for NSF International found that 59 percent of consumers prefer products from animals raised without antibiotics. But, without an independent, transparent protocol and certification process, consumers have not been able to verify claims made by marketers – until now.

Betagro Group in Thailand, a large supplier of chicken to consumers in Asia and Europe, is the first company to earn NSF International’s Raised Without Antibiotics certification.

NSF International developed the Raised Without Antibiotics protocol in partnership with the food animal industry and veterinary stakeholders.

Under the program, animals cannot be certified if they have received antibiotics. The use of ionophore chemical coccidiostats, which are not considered contributors to antimicrobial resistance, may be permitted to prevent infections, depending on labeling regulations in the region of product sale.

The program also encourages preventive measures such as vaccination, alternative treatments, litter management techniques and appropriate stocking density to maintain the health and welfare of the animals.

If sick animals require antibiotics for treatment, they can receive veterinary care but must be removed from the Raised Without Antibiotics program.

Learn more about NSF International’s Raised Without Antibiotics certification.

Register for an informational webinar on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 from 9:30 to 10 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time.
Published in Emerging Trends
May 12, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. - Canada’s farmers and processors need the federal government’s help to navigate the increasingly complex labyrinth of international trade to ensure they have access to the foreign markets they depend on, according to a report released Tuesday by the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry.

The committee met with over 500 witnesses and other stakeholders from across the country to examine international market access priorities for Canadian farmers and processors — a key contributor to the Canadian economy — to understand the challenges they face when exporting their products and to identify possible solutions to facilitate and encourage international market access.

The committee’s report, Market Access: Giving Canadian Farmers and Processors the World, outlines ways to ensure Canadian products get to shelves around the world.

World-renowned products like Quebec maple syrup, Alberta beef, blueberries from Atlantic Canada, Okanagan and Niagara wines, and canola from the Prairies all reinforce the Canada Brand.

The committee sees the Canada Brand as crucial to positioning Canadian products on the international stage.

The committee makes 18 recommendations in its report, including:
  • That the federal government eliminate non-tariff barriers to trade and pursue free trade agreements with other countries.
  • That all levels of government work together to eliminate interprovincial trade barriers and invest in rail, road and marine infrastructure to guarantee that Canadian producers and processors are able to efficiently transport their products to consumers.
  • That the federal government improve access to infrastructure grants for farmers and food producers who want to invest in new technologies, and that Employment and Social Development Canada and Immigration and Citizenship Canada create programs that help farmers hire foreign workers to address labour shortages.
Adopting the committee’s recommendations will help the government ensure that the Canadian agriculture sector continues to thrive.
Published in Trade
May 11, 2017, Dublin, Ireland - Research and Markets has announced the release of the "Global Processed Poultry Meat Market Analysis & Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" report.

The Global Processed Poultry Meat Market is poised to grow at a CAGR (compond annual growth rate) of around 7.6 per cent over the next decade to reach approximately $418 billion by 2025.

This industry report analyzes the market estimates and forecasts of all the given segments on global as well as regional levels presented in the research scope.

The study provides historical market data for 2014, 2015 revenue estimations are presented for 2016 and forecasts from 2016 till 2025.

The study focuses on market trends, leading players, supply chain trends, technological innovations, key developments, and future strategies for existing players, new entrants and the future investors.

The market size is calculated based on the revenue generated through sales from all the given segments and sub segments in the research scope. The market data is gathered from extensive primary interviews and secondary research.

The study presents detailed market analysis with inputs derived from industry professionals across the value chain. A special focus has been made on 23 countries such as U.S., Canada, Mexico, U.K., Germany, Spain, France, Italy, China, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, etc.

For more information about this report, visit: http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/s3p3wc/global_processed
Published in Research
May 11, 2017 - According to Reuters, China has lifted a ban on Canadian poultry imports implemented in 2014 following an outbreak of bird flu, its quality watchdog said in a statement on Thursday.

The ban had been in force since December 2014, when Canada reported the detection of H5-type bird flu on two farms in British Columbia.
Published in Trade
Poultry production generates dust, ammonia and odour emissions that have the potential to impact air quality both within the barn and in the environment.

The subject of emission control was addressed at EuroTier, the world’s largest trade fair for animal production, in November 2016. The fair takes place every other year in Hanover, Germany.
Published in New Technology
In the November 2016 issue of Canadian Poultry magazine, we published a story on building inclusive businesses: “Growing bottom lines with social impact.” The story was based on a talk given by Markus Dietrich, co-founder and director of Asian Social Enterprise Incubator Inc., at the International Egg Conference in Warsaw, Poland.
Published in Companies
May 9, 2017 – On May 11, 2017 at 10 AM, WATT Global Media will host a webinar discussing Avian Influenza (AI).

Highly pathogenic AI outbreaks have occurred in commercial poultry operations on every continent except Antarctica in the last decade, including this year’s outbreaks in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

The impact of these outbreaks has increased along with the size of the poultry industry. The outbreak in the U.S. in 2015 was the world’s most expensive resulting in a loss of around 50 million birds, and the current H7H9 outbreak in China has claimed over 100 human lives.

Join a group of panelists from around the globe as they discuss steps that could be taken in the laboratory, on the farm and in the board room to better position the industry to deal with this ongoing challenge. READ MORE
Published in Biosecurity
May 8, 2017 - Supplements containing arsenic have been banned in the European Union since 1999 and in North America since 2013. In many countries they are still added to poultry feed to prevent parasitic infection and promote weight gain.

Scientists have now demonstrated that the danger to human health may be greater than previously thought because the metabolic breakdown of these compounds in chickens occurs via intermediates that are significantly more toxic than the initial additives. READ MORE
Published in Nutrition and Feed
May 8, 2017, Africa - One strategy for dealing with poultry poop is to turn it into biofuel, and now scientists have developed a way to do this by mixing the waste with another environmental scourge, an invasive weed that is affecting agriculture in Africa. They report their approach in American Chemical Society’s journal Energy & Fuels

Poultry sludge is sometimes turned into fertilizer, but recent trends in industrialized chicken farming have led to an increase in waste mismanagement and negative environmental impacts, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Droppings can contain nutrients, hormones, antibiotics and heavy metals and can wash into the soil and surface water. To deal with this problem, scientists have been working on ways to convert the waste into fuel. But alone, poultry droppings don’t transform well into biogas, so it’s mixed with plant materials such as switch grass.

Samuel O. Dahunsi, Solomon U. Oranusi and colleagues wanted to see if they could combine the chicken waste with Tithonia diversifolia (Mexican sunflower), which was introduced to Africa as an ornamental plant decades ago and has become a major weed threatening agricultural production on the continent.

The researchers developed a process to pre-treat chicken droppings, and then have anaerobic microbes digest the waste and Mexican sunflowers together. Eight kilograms of poultry waste and sunflowers produced more than 3 kg of biogas — more than enough fuel to drive the reaction and have some leftover for other uses such as powering a generator. Also, the researchers say that the residual solids from the process could be applied as fertilizer or soil conditioner.

The authors acknowledge funding from Landmark University (Nigeria).
Published in Environment
April 28, 2017, Toronto, Ont. - Pecking Order, a new documentary film set at the 2015 New Zealand National Poultry Show, takes viewers into the world of competitive poultry pageantry and examines the politics in the Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club in its near 150-year history.

Competitive poultry pageantry is not only a highly entertaining hobby—it’s an obsession. For members of Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club in New Zealand, it’s also way of life.

Senior member, Beth Inwood, and president, Doug Bain, have tasted the glory of raising perfect rosecomb cockerels and rumpless pullets, while newbie teenagers Rhys Lilley and Sarah Bunton enjoy the good clean fun. But feathers start to fly when infighting breaks out in the club during the run-up to the 2015 National Poultry Show.

As energetic as any sport film and as comedic as you’d imagine Best in Show chicken pageantry to be, Pecking Order serves up an endearing look at poultry passion.

Pecking Order is set to premiere at the Hot Docs International Film Festival in Toronto, Ont., on April 29.

For more information, visit: Pecking Order - Hot Docs International Film Festival
Published in Producers
April 17, 2017, Chicago, IL - Global outbreaks of bird flu in poultry have altered the flow of U.S. chicken meat, eggs and grain around the world, adding to challenges faced by domestic exporters and giving a leg up to Brazil, which has so far escaped the disease.

Different strains of avian flu have been detected across Asia, Europe, Africa and in the U.S. in recent months, leading to the culling of millions of birds and a flurry of import restrictions on eggs and chicken meat.

U.S. grain traders such as Bunge and Cargill have lost business because poultry deaths have reduced feed demand. Some domestic poultry producers, though, have managed to boost sales by taking advantage of trading bans that hurt rivals.

Sanderson Farms, the third-largest U.S. poultry producer, said it sold more chicken to Iraq when Baghdad backed away from Europe’s poultry due to bird flu, or avian influenza (AI), in the bloc.

Iraq imported 84.2 million kg of U.S. chicken meat last year, about three per cent of total U.S. chicken meat exports.

Data on chicken exports is not yet available for March, when the U.S. confirmed its first case of a highly lethal form of bird flu in commercial poultry in more than a year.

After the finding, South Korea, suffering its own worst-ever outbreak of bird flu, blocked U.S. poultry and eggs. That shut off opportunities for U.S. exporters hoping to make sales to cover shortfalls in South Korea, said Keithly Jones, a senior economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Last month, USDA cut its forecast for 2017 U.S. egg exports by six per cent to 305 million dozen because of South Korea’s ban.

U.S. grain traders, who were grappling with a global supply glut before flocks in other countries were culled to contain bird flu, have faced lower demand for the corn and soybeans that provide feed for chickens.

Bunge, one of the world’s top grain and oilseed traders, told Reuters that shipments to South Korea for February and March declined “on the back of reduced feed productions.” Shipments have since been picking up, according to the company.

In March, Cargill said South Korea’s outbreak, in which about 35 million birds have been culled, contributed to a decrease in quarterly earnings in its global animal nutrition unit. READ MORE
Published in Trade
Chicago, IL, April 10, 2017 – Chicken remains consumers’ protein of choice while turkey shows room to grow, according to Technomic’s recently-released 2017 Center of the Plate: Poultry Consumer Trend Report.

Chicken consumption has been bolstered over the past few years by increases at breakfast and snacking occasions. Meanwhile, turkey consumption is still centered on the holidays, though 39 per cent of consumers who eat turkey indicate they are more likely now than two years ago to eat turkey during the rest of the year.

“Chicken’s adaptability will be on full display over the next few years as operators increasingly highlight this healthy protein across dayparts”, explains Kelly Weikel, director of consumer insights at Technomic. “For turkey, operators will work to menu this protein in a way that is new and intriguing, but still leverages turkey’s positioning as a familiar and healthy standby.”

Key takeaways from the report include:
  • 47 per cent of consumers say it’s important for restaurants to be transparent about where they source their poultry
  • 45 per cent of consumers who eat chicken strongly agree that restaurants should offer more chicken entrees with ethnic flavors
  • 38 per cent of consumers who eat turkey would like restaurants to offer turkey as a protein choice for a wider variety of entrees
Published in Consumer
April 6, 2017, Nottingham, UK – Specially-bred wheat could help provide some of the key nutrients essential for healthy bones in poultry, reducing the need to supplement the feed, researchers at Nottingham Trent University and Aarhus University in Denmark have found.

Scientists from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University, discovered that wheat can be bred naturally to produce high levels of phytase – an enzyme needed to release phosphorous, which the bird requires to grow a healthy skeleton.

The wheat was tested on poultry in feed trials carried out at Nottingham Trent University’s Poultry Research Unit.

The poultry industry has been very successful in improving bird productivity, with growth rates increasing threefold over the last 50 years. However, in order to ensure that bird welfare is not compromised, particular attention has to be focused on ensuring that a healthy, well-developed skeletal frame is produced.

Nutritionists have tackled this issue through supplements, to ensure the correct mineral balance in the diet. A key component is phosphorous, a mineral found in plant tissues, grains and oil seeds and which is vital for skeletal growth and maintenance.

However, not only is phosphorous supplementation very expensive but also the phosphorous, from plant sources, present in the feed of poultry and pigs has a very low bio-availability, being bound up in a plant substance called phytate.

Phosphorous bound in phytate cannot be utilized by these monogastric animals because they have negligible amounts of the phytase enzyme in their gastrointestinal tract – which is needed to make the phosphorous from phytate bioavailable.

This anti-nutritional effect of phytate is estimated to cost animal producers billions of dollars a year. In addition to this, phytate-bound phosphorous, which is excreted, can have negative impact on the environment such as via eutrophication.

For the latest work, published in the journal Animal: An International Journal of Animal Bioscience, plant-breeding scientists from Aarhus University used their expertise to make it simple and efficient to breed wheat with naturally high levels of phytase.

Scientists in Nottingham Trent University’s poultry nutrition research team then designed and carried out a poultry nutrition trial to compare this new source of phytase to traditional poultry diet formulations. The trial shows that inclusion of the high phytase wheat in the feed is a highly effective way to unlock the phosphorous in the diet for use by the animal.

”Aiming for high phytase activity in wheat grains has been a key research target for many years,” said Dr Henrik Brinch-Pedersen, group leader at Aarhus University’s Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics.

”Reaching it was a milestone, but seeing that it works well in animal feeding is extremely satisfactory,” he added. “A particularly exciting additional implication of this work may actually be for humans. 700 million people globally suffer anaemia partly caused by the high phytate content of their diet. Providing a variety of wheat that contains its own phytate-destruction enzyme could improve the population health of many nations.”

”It has been exciting to explore a completely different way of providing meat chickens with the phosphorous needed for healthy bones,” said Dr. Emily Burton, head of the Poultry Research Unit in Nottingham Trent University’s School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences. ”We will be looking to explore further the possibilities of wheat-derived phytase, as emerging research in this field shows the anti-nutritional effects of phytate in poultry extends far beyond locking away phosphorous.”

”Wheat is the predominant ingredient used in poultry diets and over 50 per cent of all the wheat grown in the EU is used in the manufacture of animal feeds,” said Steve Wilson, monogastric nutritionist at the animal feed producers ForFarmers. “If the naturally occurring level of phytase in this major cereal can be increased then it can make a significant economic contribution to our aim to improve the efficiency and sustainability of future feed production.”

Plant Bioscience Ltd (PBL, Norwich, UK) – an independent technology management company specializing in plant, food and microbial science – was also involved in the study and funded the work. PBL is now working with partners in the plant breeding and feed industry to bring this innovation into use.
Published in Nutrition and Feed
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