Professors and experts from the Alltech China Research Alliance gathered on Sept. 3 to share their research progress and discuss the most pressing issues in the animal feed and nutrition industry.
Alltech, a well-known animal health and nutrition company, launched the Chinese Research Alliance project in October 2012, representing a significant investment for the company in the Chinese markets for research and education. Professor Li Defa, academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, believes that the Alltech China Research Alliance has played a leading and inspiring role in the industry.
“Food safety and the environment are getting more and more attention in China’s agricultural sector,” said Dr. Mark Lyons, global vice president and head of Greater China for Alltech. “Alltech wants to provide agricultural solutions for China’s future, which will have an impact on the food and feed industry around the world.
“To identify these solutions, we formed the Alltech China Research Alliance,” he continued. “By partnering with leading universities and research institutions in the country, we can work together to deliver stronger solutions faster.”
Through the research alliance project, Alltech has built long-term scientific research cooperation with 10 well-known universities, research institutes and leading feed and food enterprises. The focuses of their research have included mycotoxin management and inspection technology, the assessment of new feed additives, animal nutrition control and nutrigenomics (the study of nutrition at the genetic level), the control of greenhouse gas emissions, aquaculture innovations and more.
Organic trace minerals: The alliance team from Zhejiang University completed trace minerals replacement research on pigs in 2015. From tests of fecal excretion samples, they determined that 25 percent Total Replacement Technology (TRT), which is the use of organic trace minerals, can reduce the excretion of trace minerals in feces and decrease environmental impacts. Alltech will continue to promote research on the total replacement of mineral nutrition with organic minerals because of its importance to environmental protection and sustainability.
Algae: Microalgae are rich in protein and DHA omega-3, making it the best choice to replace fish oil or fish meal. Alltech is a leader in microalgae technology and produces clean, consistent heterotrophically-grown algae.
Through the alliance, Alltech and Ocean University of China conducted a trial to evaluate the effects of replacing fish oil with microalgae in the diet of Pacific white shrimp and came to the conclusion that the whole cell microalgae could replace 100 percent of fish oil DHA without negatively affecting shrimp growth. In the future, more research will be conducted on how to reduce the costs of the diets containing algae. Meanwhile, Alltech and Zhejiang University are collaborating on producing DHA-rich eggs.
Comments from attendees
Dr. Jun Luo, professor of animal science and technology at Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, gives the Alltech China Research Alliance high praise. He believes Chinese universities benefit from it and gain many advanced technologies. “Support from Alltech gives us the opportunity to further research nutrition and animal science, which will promote the development of animal production and the whole food industry,” said Luo.
Through the alliance, Alltech hopes to put more theory into practice, focusing research on the practical needs of customers. Alltech believes in bringing customers’ problems first to the laboratory to seek out proven solutions through the alliance.
By the end of 2016, Alltech will invest $2.5 million in the Alltech China Research Alliance. The alliance model has been proven to be successful because alliance research results have solved practical problems in the agriculture industry.
“The program provides a very good education for young scientists in agriculture,” said Luo. “The alliance can guide the undergraduate and graduate students to seek a better career path.”
Professor Mai Kangsen, academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said, “China’s traditional agriculture falls far behind the agriculture in Europe and the United States. Alltech takes the environment and food safety into consideration and undoubtedly promotes the development of the whole industry and agriculture.”
All the research alliances that are part of the Alltech China Research Alliance are managed by a management committee composed of representatives from Alltech and the universities and research institutions, with three members from each side. The committee is responsible for the policymaking of the alliance, preparation of the program and direction of the trials. Alltech provides operations, equipment, research funding and other funding for the alliance each year and also provides scholarships to the institutes of animal science and technology.
Alltech has formal research alliances with nearly 30 top universities and institutes worldwide.