A new coating system, installed in 2016, means the Italian company can produce 5,000 tons of product per year as compared to 1,000 tons prior to the outlay, said Jorge Moreto, head of business development at the Bertinoro headquartered firm.
“The investment means we can fully exploit our patents covering rumen by-pass technologies to serve distributors and international animal nutrition companies of all sizes,” he said.
The business has a portfolio of coated products for ruminants from choline chloride to vitamins to amino acids, based on its multilayer coating (MLC) technology, as well as lines targeting the monogastric segment such as organic acids and essential oils produced using a different coating system.
While the monogastric products are aimed at gut health and pathogen modulation, the dairy-targeted portfolio is about ensuring the nutrients are not degraded in the rumen, and get absorbed, in sufficient quantities, by the animal in the intestinal phase.
“We have made a leap forward in terms of the development of our well established rumen-protected choline chloride product. Two patents were filed on this at the start of the year. The product - Sta-Chol60 - now carries 60% of active content, whereas competitor choline chloride products are in the range of 25 to 30% of active content.”
Any sold form of ingredient or additive could be coated using the MLC technology, he said.
“From time to time, we get requests for rumen protected folic acid. There is some evidence in the literature that the ingredient improves fertility in dairy cows.”
Rumen protected amino acids
There is growing interest in rumen protected amino acids in markets like the US, Canada and Europe but also in countries like China and Vietnam in Asia, he said.
“While North American and European markets are well established and still growing, we also see mid-to-long term growth prospects for coated lysine and methionine in Asia.
“The dairy industry is becoming more integrated in Asia, particularly in China and Vietnam, nutritional models are changing, and nutritionists are optimizing formulations based on targets and the need to minimize feed risks. Producers are seeking products that increase protein levels in milk and yields.”
He noted the same consolidation trend in the dairy sector in Latin America.
Bioscreen, he said, is actively seeking partners in that market and, in Asia, to leverage the demand for higher value nutritional inputs, though it has a head start on the Asian front, through a long-standing relationship with distributors in China and Japan. “We are in talks with candidate partners in Taiwan, Vietnam, Taiwan and in Korea.”
The company is on the lookout for partners that fully understand the whole area of rumen protection. “They need to be informed enough to identify quality and efficacy parameters, and make informed comparisons of one coated product against another.
“One product might have poor rumen by-pass characteristics, but it may be highly digestible, while another product may have very high rumen by-pass capabilities, but low intestinal digestibility.
“In order to get the best ROI for dairy producers, it is pertinent the digestibility of rumen protected ingredients and nutrient delivery is evaluated correctly, leading to judicious buying decisions,” he said.
Bioscreen certifies the bioavailability of Sta-Chol60 on each batch, he said.
In terms of measuring the effectiveness of rumen-protected products in vivo, he said coated methionine is and easier model to work with than choline chloride, for example.
“Methionine shows up as a spike in the blood. It is easy to show an animal is getting a certain amount. Part of the coated choline chloride that passes the rumen will be degraded in the rumen gut by the intestinal flora, that is part of the metabolic process, and part will be absorbed by the animal, it does not really show up in the blood plasma and measuring metabolites of choline may prove difficult.
“A common way to measure the effectiveness of choline chloride products is to compare milk production responses. In the post-calving period, you can look at how the animal is responding to the nutrient supply and coping with the negative energy balance post calving,” he explained.
A study the company carried out with the University of Pennsylvania on Holstein dairy cows in early lactation suggest milk yields increased linearly with the use of dietary choline in rumen-protected form, he said.
The company, has carried out other in vivo trials, but has also moved to make a correlation between in vitro and in vivo technology through the adaptation of a swine orientated intestinal digestibility methodology for rumen applications: “It is a pretty reliable indicator of digestibility. We use it to screen products if we tweak a formulation slightly or make small adjustments to our process. We can also screen competitors’ products in the same way, so though it is primarily a quality control tool, it can also guide our development work.”