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Phytohaemagglutinins and other bioactive components to improve animal health and the agricultural environment

The aim is to replace harmful feed additives (antibiotics,
zinc oxide) by natural bioactive substances that stimulate
the growth and health of production animals and do not have
a negative effect on the environment.

Intensive animal (pigs, calves) production faces numerous problems related to weaning. Weaning diarrhoea is a serious economic problem for farmers, it leads to significant reduction of animal's growth rate, increased feed consumption due to longer production cycle and increased expenses for veterinary services. The feed industry has implemented a long list of feed additives to reduce these problems but many of them cannot be used. Blood plasma preparations and other products of animal origin are now out of the question. Anti-microbial feed additives were very popular for many years for their growth promoting and anti-microbial properties. However, antibiotics negatively affect the development of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and immune system, and what is crucial - are responsible for the appearance of multi- drug-resistant bacteria strains and influence soil microbes and plant diversity. SWEDEN was the first country to ban the use of antibiotic feed additives in 1986. In the last few years, the use of anti-microbial feed additives has been markedly reduced in many European Community countries. Use of ZnO as a feed additive is controversial because of soil pollution. Background: The digestive system of young mammals undergoes profound structural and functional changes in the first weeks of neonatal development. In order to match digestive and absorptive requirements of the rapidly growing new-born the most intensive growth concerns the exocrine pancreas, stomach and the upper gut. However, in production animals the development of gut and pancreas function is not completed at weaning. The digestive system is thus subjected to a drastic change in diet when maternal milk is substituted abruptly by solid food. At weaning the stomach starts to grow and differentiate rapidly which is especially relevant in calves and the small intestine is subsequently challenged by a changed microflora. The regulatory mechanisms of the GIT function also change due to the increasing importance of hormonal stimulation. Therefore, the weaning period is hazardous for young animals which is manifested by the high frequency of GI disorders resulting in reduced weight gain and poorer food utilisation. GI disorders are one of the most important causes of animal death in young pigs and calves. Objective: The objective of the project is to introduce onto the market products based on plant lectin and glutamine derivatives that will stimulate physiological mechanisms behind GI tract maturation and better adaptation to the weaned diet. It is expected that the proposed products will help to build strategies for safe (healthy) weaning in intensive animal (swine and cattle) production. Keywords: animal health, phytohaemagglutinin, alpha-keto glutarate.
Project ID: 
2 675
Start date: 
15-05-2002
Project Duration: 
36months
Project costs: 
1 750 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Animal Selection/Production / Husbandry technology
Market Area: 
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Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.