Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

EU project offers herbal therapy to farmyard animals

22.05.2007
Natural alternatives to growth-promoting antibiotics in livestock feed may soon be on the menu for pigs, poultry and fish in Europe, thanks to research conducted by REPLACE, an EU-funded project.

Antibiotics have been widely used in animal production for decades worldwide. Added in low doses to the feed of farm animals, they can improve livestock growth performance by promoting better condition and vitality, reducing death rates and reducing the need for therapeutic treatment, all of which helps also to keep production costs competitive.

However, due to the emergence of microbes resistant to antibiotics which are used to treat human and animal infections, the European Commission decided to phase out the marketing and use of antibiotics as growth promoters in feed. By 2006, a total ban was in force across the EU. Antibiotics are now only allowed to be added to animal feed for veterinary purposes.

Although antibiotics were never used to the same extent in Europe as in the US, their ban has had a varying impact on livestock production, says John Wallace of the Rowett Research Institute in the UK, coordinator of the REPLACE project. The hardest hit were the swine and poultry, but 'for cattle and sheep, the antibiotics were in less widespread use, so the impact of the ban wasn't such a big one,' he told CORDIS News.

Nevertheless, Dr Wallace believes that the removal of growth-promoting antibiotics has placed some livestock producers in Europe at a competitive disadvantage overall, since other countries such as the US have no restrictions on their use.

So what is the alternative? Funded under the 'Food quality and safety' programme of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), REPLACE is looking into the use of plants such as herbs, plant extracts including essential oils and other materials as safe alternatives to these feed antimicrobials. All of the samples are of plants or extracts that are either indigenous to Europe or that can be grown here.

The candidates selected by the project come from some 500 samples of plant material which were collected during the Rumen-up project in FP5, to decrease methane and nitrogenous emissions from ruminants and to alleviate nutritional stress. 'Methane is not only bad for the environment, it is also bad for the animals to be losing an important source of energy,' explained Mr Wallace.

In FP6, the samples were tested this time for use on pigs, poultry and fish for their potential to control infections from and immunity to E. coli and other parasites, as well as for their impact on food safety and feed efficiency.

The project consortium has identified three promising candidates for which it is filing patent applications. One candidate, which has been used in traditional herbal medicine, was found to be particularly effective in the control of diarrhoea among piglets and to improve feed efficiency in poultry. A second candidate is from an anthelmintic plant that helps control parasites in the guts of ruminants, while a final possible alternative is an essential oil with an application in aquaculture.

Dr Wallace believes that all three candidates are commercially viable. 'First though, we will have to prove their efficiency and safety,' he noted. 'The consortium is currently at the stage of drawing up candidate field trials and figuring best way to spend the remaining money to prove the efficiency of these candidates.' Trials are expected to start in the coming months.

Virginia Mercouri | alfa
Further information:
http://cordis.europa.eu/news

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Cascading use is also beneficial for wood
11.12.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht The future of crop engineering
08.12.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>