The research-based animal nutrition company BIOMIN
recently announced its participation in a five-year EU-funded research project. The aim is to reduce the use of antibiotics in pigs.
The project Alternatives to Veterinary antimicrobials or AVANT, which involves 14 partner organisations from 9 countries, is led by the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. It is funded by Horizon 2020, the European Union's research and innovation platform for sustainable resources for food safety and growth.
The project aims to develop alternatives to antimicrobial agents for the treatment of bacterial infections in pigs. A special focus is on diarrhoea during weaning as the main indication for the use of antimicrobial agents in piglets.
Dr. Veronika Nagl, Head of Research “Good Performance” at BIOMIN, says: “Diarrhoea after weaning is a serious problem for piglet production. For more than 35 years, BIOMIN has been committed to providing non-antibiotic feeding solutions for the professional livestock industry. By applying our scientific expertise to practical animal husbandry, we help keep farm animals healthier and more productive. This will benefit industry and society as a whole through increased sustainability, reduced risk of antibiotic resistance and improved food safety.”
The need to find new solutions to prevent post-weaning diarrhoea in piglets has gained importance in recent years due to several factors:
- At present, no effective vaccines are available
- The use of medicinal zinc oxide will be banned in Europe in 2022
- The use of colistin has been restricted due to its critical importance in human medicine
- Enterotoxic Escherichia coli (ETEC) bacteria are at risk of developing resistance to all antibiotics that do not belong to the reserve AB and are still used in animals
“Piglet diarrhea is an expensive, multifactorial challenge. Pig producers need more natural and innovative ways to successfully move away from the use of antimicrobials and zinc, which have several drawbacks. As part of the Alternatives to Veterinary antimicrobials project, BIOMIN will test a new feed additive that we have developed to promote good gut health in pigs. We are using state-of-the-art tools and techniques, including omics technologies and bioinformatics”, commented Dr. Verity Ann Sattler, BIOMIN scientist.