Evonik had been a distributor for Chr. Hansen's probiotic feed additives for swine and poultry feed in that region since 2012.
Dr Emmanuel Auer, head of the animal nutrition business at the German company, told this publication last month that in Evonik’s strategy to develop alternatives to antibiotics, probiotics were key.
In July, the specialty chemicals group expanded its product portfolio by acquiring the probiotics business of Norel. However, Auer said the company was intending to significantly step up its own research in this field.
And Evonik believes the full potential of the probiotics market has not yet been fully exploited. “We would like to seize this opportunity,” said Auer.
The company has dedicated a significant share of its biotechnology R&D budget to probiotics.
“The effects and benefits of probiotics depend on a complex metabolic system. Our well-researched, scientific approach aims to further develop trust in this product group. Evonik has invested in gut health and diagnostic competence and we are collaborating with renowned research institutes worldwide,” said Auer.
In terms of what Evonik sees as the current knowledge gaps around the benefits or otherwise of the use of probiotics in the diets of pigs, poultry, dairy and fish, he said:
“At the moment, there is still a lot to explore scientifically [in order] to develop the right products and application services in the area of probiotics. One of the major challenges of probiotics is to get consistent results in different regions across the globe and [varied] customer environments. Therefore, we are building up the know-how on how the strain, the animal (host) and external factors (livestock management) interact and influence each other.”
He said Evonik has strengths in the poultry area but also wants to exploit its good position in the pig and aqua segment in relation to probiotic research.