Evonik and Perstorp in antibiotic alternatives research tie-up

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages
© GettyImages
Amino acid and probiotic producer, Evonik, has signed a research agreement for the development of new animal nutrition products with Perstorp, a producer of feed raw materials like propionic, formic, butyric and valeric acid.

The structure of the agreement covers all aspects of IP ownership and protection, commercial outcome and R&D work, said Dr Christoph Kobler, head of product line sustainable healthy nutrition, animal nutrition, Evonik.

The German company said the alliance would focus on developing robust antibiotic alternative products. It said its gut health simulation system and probiotics portfolio combined with Perstorp’s innovative ester technology platform would make it possible to be able to deliver such products.

Delving further into the R&D process to be explored under this new partnership, Kobler told us:

“The gut health simulator grants deep insight into the specific interaction of feed and intestinal bacteria within a laboratory environment. The probiotic portfolio as well as the organic acid ester platform have both shown in field trials to have beneficial effects on animal performance.

“By investigating the proven performance of the respective products in new combinations and formulations combined with acquiring a deep understanding of the complex interactions we believe to find product combinations with an even higher performance value. The goal of this cooperation is to get the specific answer on the ‘how’.

He said Evonik believes that by pursuing such collaboration, the companies can build up a mutual cultural understanding on top of the envisioned commercial success.

No silver bullet

Roger Mann, executive vice president, animal nutrition, Perstorp​, told this publication about the expansion strategy for that division of the Swedish specialty chemicals company back in November 2018 at EuroTier, a strategy predicated on the increasing shift away from the use of antibiotics in farmed animal production globally:

“Take the largest market in the world for chicken production – the US – 18.3m metric tons of chicken per year. Four years ago, less than 5% of that production was No Antibiotics Ever (NAE). However, the statistics from the US now show around 55% of total poultry production is NAE. That change in only four-five years is just incredibly fast. The major multiples - fast food [giants] and others – have been the drivers behind that.

“Biosecurity is not strong in the US because they use chlorine dips in processing. We do not in Europe, and so salmonella scares are more prevalent in the US than perhaps they are in Europe. So, companies in the US market are crying out for viable alternative solutions, and there is no single silver bullet, but it may be a combination of some intervention [with several products] to enable them to stabilize and maximize their production."

Esterification of acids

Esterification of acids is a key area of interest for Perstorp, continued Mann.

"Esterification of acids is not new but we have 137 years of chemical engineering knowledge in our business, not in the feed and food division, but in the other part of our business; it is about using that sort of knowledge to create some key points of difference in our esterification processes compared to the rest of the market.”

An ester is a combination of an acid (carbonic acid) and an alcohol (hydroxyl-group). Esters are stable due to a strong covalent bond in an acid environment, and have functionality in relation to flavor and aroma, as well as anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.   

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