Are you a probiotic researcher working in the areas of immunity, mucosa integrity, or gastrointestinal tract functionality? If so, the EPA wants to hear from you

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Two awards to be handed out in the 2016 edition of the EPA probiotics research prize [pic (c)]
Two awards to be handed out in the 2016 edition of the EPA probiotics research prize [pic (c)]

Related tags Probiotic Cattle

Young scientists working in the field of feed probiotics, with a focus on subjects such as nutrition, microbiology or immunity, are the target of the latest Jules Tournut Probiotics Prize.

The European Probiotic Association (EPA) is seeking submissions​ for the 2016 edition of the award, with 29 February next year the deadline for applications. 

The prize is awarded every two years, and involves a jury comprised of “independent, international scientists.”

A spokesperson for EPA told us there has been a change in this year’s competition: “For the 2016 edition, there will be two prizes worth €1,500 each – in 2014 we had only one winning recipient. One award will be granted for scientific excellence, the other for innovative industrial application.”

The EPA said the research should involve innovative concepts, practical applications, or advanced knowledge of mechanisms of action in the field of probiotics for animal feeding. The association hopes the prize will stimulate the publication of articles and scientific papers and, in turn, promote the use of the microorganisms in feed.  

The prizes will be granted during the animal nutrition show, Eurotier, in Hannover in November next year.

Dr Steve Frese’s won the competition in 2014. His research, conducted at the University of Nebraska in the US, looked at the specificity of Lactobacillus reuteri, with the EPA saying his findings could aid easier selection of tailored probiotic strains that are able to colonize and persist in the host gut to provide antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory benefits, and, in turn, reduce the need for antibiotics.

Dr Gérard Bertin, secretary general of EPA, and Professor Joaquim Brufau, a member of the association’s scientific committee reviewing the submissions, said the projects received under the 2014 award showed the scope and diversity of probiotic research going on around the world, with applications from ten different countries covering the use of probiotics in the swine, beef and dairy cattle, poultry and aquaculture sectors.

EU probiotic usage

Over the last 10 years, feed probiotic usage has developed significantly in the EU, in particular since the ban on antibiotic growth promoters in January 2006, reports the EPA.

EU authorization of microorganisms with probiotic effect as a feed additive came into effect in 1996. Since then, more than 20 microorganisms have been approved for different livestock production usages including in feed for broilers, turkeys, layers, piglets, fattening pigs, sows, calves, beef cattle, dairy cows, small ruminants, rabbits, and aquaculture.

Direction of research

At EuroTier last year, Dr Eric Auclair, Treasurer of the EPA, told FeedNavigator that there is a migration away from studying the efficacy of feed probiotics in terms of their global performance, such as their contribution to FCR and animal growth.

“The focus now is very much on getting a clear understanding of the role probiotics play in the interaction between nutrition and overall animal health, especially in the areas of immunity, mucosa integrity, and gastrointestinal tract functionality,”​ he said.

Scientists are trying to get a deeper understanding of the mode of action of probiotics in terms of this kind of functionality, said Auclair.

And he said challenged situations are proving the most efficacious as regards demonstrating the usefulness of the supplementation of probiotics in pig and poultry diets. 

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