The French firms said the long-term scientific partnership would see them collaborating either directly or through their subsidiaries.
“We have always been interested in botanicals. Plant extracts are a great source of functional ingredients, one of Neovia's five major fields of innovation for feed. The alliance with Naturex is an opportunity for Neovia to speed up and enlarge its development in that field,” Mathieu Tournat, R&D and innovation director, Neovia, told us.
Alternative strategies to antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) that will reduce incidences of infection and enhance growth in livestock production are being researched worldwide.
Plant extracts or botanicals are gaining traction in that respect. Researchers are examining such ingredients for their potential to improve animal performance by their antimicrobial activity, their antioxidative effects or by enhancing feed palatability and improving gut functions.
This is the first time plant extracts producer, Naturex, will target the animal nutrition market. The Avignon headquartered company currently develops botanical ingredients for the food production, nutraceutical and cosmetics industries.
"Naturex fosters the global shift from synthetic to natural ingredients through our key categories of natural colors, phytoactives, fruits and vegetables and antioxidants for human food, nutrition and health. The alliance with Neovia is an Open Innovation initiative to broaden our market presence," said Antoine Bily, R&D director, Naturex.
Located near Vannes in Morbihan, Neovia is active in livestock, aquaculture and pet food globally. The company said all animal species are the target of the research alliance.
Tournat said it was too soon to disclose any details in terms of the particular plant ingredients the partnership will focus on.
In terms of the type of R&D ingredient studies to be performed, he said in vitro testing of the mode of action and in vivo efficacy trials are on the cards.
Neovia will take on the commercial side of the partnership. With 78 production sites and 8,300 employees in 28 countries, it said it plans to place the ingredients arising out of the alliance on the feed market, and to develop them worldwide.
“Other animal feed players could ultimately be using these products.”