Novozymes buys microbe screening technology to bolster probiotic work

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© istock
© istock
Novozymes says the acquisition of Organobalance will enable it to strengthen its animal feed R&D competencies, particularly in the field of probiotics.

This month saw the Danish group buy the 15-year-old German microbial research company for an undisclosed sum.

Christian Munch, director, animal health and nutrition at Novozymes, told us: “Organobalance has a relatively large microbial strain collection, access to such a diverse range of microorganisms will be fundamental to our core product development.”

The Berlin based company also has a lot of expertise in the area of setting up assays and testing microbes, he said.

“Development work can often involve the screening of 1,000 strains before you select one or two that function in the way you hoped for the application in question, so the more expertise you have in this area, the better,”​ said Munch.

Such additional capacities will help Novozymes to produce new products faster or with a higher degree of accuracy, he continued.

Probiotic R&D

“And one of the areas where we want to apply this screening technology is in our work with probiotics - the scientists at Organobalance have competencies in live microbial applications; also the R&D culture at the German firm is thoroughly science based making it, overall, a good fit for us,”​ said Munch.

He said the probiotic market is growing and that industry is looking more seriously at such microbial products in terms of “what they can and can’t do”​ in the context of the increasing shift away from antibiotics in animal husbandry globally.

Last October saw Novozymes build on its probiotic know-how through the acquisition of US producer, Pacific Vet Group (PVG). It was said to be strong in lactic acid bacteria based probiotic applications for poultry and gave the Danish firm access to a promising pipeline and early product concepts targeted at the hatchery segment in the US.

And Novozymes, in conjunction with Adisseo, also launched a newly developed probiotic for the poultry segment, Alterion, on the US market at IPPE in January this year.

The two companies have also been rolling out that probiotic, a strain of Bacillus subtilis, in several regions worldwide; it is currently awaiting assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

And interest in trialing Alterion is increasing, reported the Danish group in its financial review in August.

Meanwhile, Stefan Jakob, innovation project director at Adisseo, told this publication back in April that the decision to go to market with the strain in question was the result of a highly scientific screening and in-vivo validation process. “It is not an ‘off the shelf’ probiotic,”​ said the innovation lead.

“Bacillus subtilis are microorganisms producing spores that resist harsh pelleting conditions as well as low gastric pH. They are, therefore, able to reach the intestine of the animal without being damaged, to turn into viable bacteria and provide maximum benefits. The chosen strain stuck out [in our review] of numerous other Bacillus subtilis strains [as it proved] highly resistant in these unfavorable conditions,”​ explained Jakob.

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