In an interview with FeedNavigator, Daniel Barziza, director of intellectual asset and enabling technologies at Cargill Animal Nutrition, explained how its’ recently formed, Biological Response Team (BRT), is supporting the company’s more ‘aggressive’ feed additive strategy in allowing quicker roll out of products with validated proof of concept.
The cross-functional experts, he said, can isolate the complex interactions of new feed additives or track down the source of digestive issues by using a platform that simulates an animal's digestion, pinpointing how an ingredient reacts to other compounds in the gut.
“We can now generate reliable data on the effect of feed ingredients on the animal’s gut in the lab and don’t have to depend on a route to market using lengthy animal trials as we did before.
Furthermore, this approach eliminates much of the trial and error approach and inconsistent results you get with field research.
Using cell culture modelling, we can get real insight into the impact of a newly developed feed additive on intestinal tissue. We can more thoroughly understand the mode of action of an ingredient – you can readily pinpoint what is happening inside the gut,” said Barziza.
The assays used are unique to Cargill. "But depending on particular customer challenges, we can build new models as needed," he said.
Real time feed enzyme data
The BRT consists of five permanent members but expands on a per project basis so, in essence, it is staffed with microbiologists, chemists, human and animal nutritionists, and quantitative model builders.
The specialists attached to the initiative have been really active in terms of generating 'nearly real-time' data on enzymes, said Barziza.
The team has been constantly refining its computer models to determine which enzymes are most effective, how they work within the animal and why to help farmers make informed decisions quicker and “more reliably”, he said.
“We are also leveraging models to help advance our understanding of gut integrity and how feed products impact the gut barrier, as well as evaluating their antimicrobial effect, which is increasingly important as the industry continues to shift away from antibiotics,” said the Cargill representative.
Animal trials are still used to confirm the lab results, but, with so much insight gained prior to that validation phase, there is a much quicker turnaround time than when relying on field studies alone, he said.
So, instead of years, it will now take months to screen new products and understand how exactly next generation feed components benefit the animal and the rapidly changing demands of the animal production market, said Barziza.