The companies said the objective of the tool is to evaluate the effect of nutritional interventions, including probiotic supplementation, on the functional activity of the digestive microbiota.
This research tool will help advance precision feeding for ruminants and help in the development of diet formulations or new feed additives aimed at maximizing energy released from fiber degradation, they added.
The companies believe the work will improve animal efficiency, and in a sustainable manner.
Dr Frédérique Chaucheyras-Durand is leading the project for Lallemand Animal Nutrition. She told FeedNavigator:
“This project with Dendris is for 18 months. In fact, this research was initiated eight years ago, between Lallemand Animal Nutrition and the INRA MEDIS team along with a PhD student.
“The project started from an idea that we needed more understanding of how to monitor fibrolytic activity in the rumen and to be able to measure how much it is impacted by diet, probiotics, etc.”
In the prototype development done with the MEDIS team from INRA and Clermont Auvergne University, about 400 key microbial genes involved in fiber digestion were selected, she said. The researchers pinpointed 60 significant genes, biomarkers of cellulose and hemicellulose degradation. The functional biochip, thus, is designed to more quickly evaluate the expression of those biomarkers in ruminant digesta.
“As probiotics may enhance rumen efficiency through activation of fiber degradation, this biochip should help to identify situations of microbial imbalance and demonstrate probiotic benefits, which could serve to formulate advice and recommendations promoting improved rumen function through the application of nutritional solutions such as live yeast, for example," said Chaucheyras-Durand.
Asked whether other companies could eventually gain access to this new tool, she said there were no plans, at this stage, to commercialize it.
The idea is “to use it internally for R&D work or for very specific requests from our partners.”